OTC Teams Up With Associated General Contractors of Missouri to Form Student Chapter

Oct 3, 2017

Ozarks Technical Community College is teaming up with the Associated General Contractors of Missouri to form a student chapter.

One of the main goals behind the new student organization is to provide more networking opportunities for construction students.

"They're going to start seeing more contractors in front of them saying I'm hiring and this is what I'm looking for," said Justin Frese, who teaches construction technology at OTC.

Monday's announcement comes amid a shortage of trained construction workers. The economic downturn of 2008-09 is seen as one of the main causes of the shortage. During that time, many workers left the industry and not all of them came back, according to Frese.

Another reason for the lack of workers is many who are in the industry are starting to retire and companies are having a hard time replacing them.

"The average age of all the workers just keeps going up," Freese said. "The people to fill their spaces are just not there. All of that put together, we're seeing a very scary situation about to happen."

Frese said an associate of his from Los Angeles called saying he had 50 positions to fill and asked if he could meet with some of Frese's students to try and recruit them.

Tracy McGrady is provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at OTC. She says based off of a 180 day graduate follow up from the 2015-2016 academic year, 100 percent of OTC graduates with a degree in construction technology found a job.

Frese said he thinks these students can go anywhere with their degree.

"I like to say that they have written their own ticket," Frese said. "If they're good, meaning they show up, they work hard, they're pleasant people to be around, they've written their own ticket."

According to Leonard Toenjes, certified association executive and president of AGC of Missouri, construction makes up four percent of Missouri's economy, adding that workers are always going to be needed to complete projects.

"They;re not going to get built on their own. You can't cut and paste it into place," Toenjes said. "There's no app for it, you've gotta have people who understand how to go out and do this."

Monday's announcement by AGC and OTC kicked of BuildMO Week, a weeklong celebration of the construction industry in Missouri.