DALLAS – It seems everywhere you turn, there it is. Construction. Despite the building boom in Dallas, it’s what you don’t see that has home builders recruiting. 

“Home building is at an all-time high,” said Michael Turner, owner of Classic Urban Homes. “But we have a shortage of trades.”

There's a nationwide lack of skilled labor, a void hitting hard in North Texas. That’s why home builders and tradesmen are so excited about students at Skyline High School on a job site Monday – they’re part of the school’s construction trades program.

It’s the perfect way to get them to see first-hand what you can do if you do not choose to attend a college. Yes, good jobs without a hefty college bill can be a reality, said Turner who is also the president the of Dallas Builder’s Association.

“We lost about 50 percent of the workforce during the recession, and they just haven’t come back,” Turner said. “So there’s been a huge void and a huge need for additional trades.” 

Louis Thomas, a junior at Skyline, was already hooked on construction thanks to his grandfather. Thomas said he wants to get into home building right after high school. 

“I like to work hands on. I wasn’t never any good in the classroom,” he said. “I’m the oldest of four, so I have to set a good example for my younger brothers and baby sister.”
Soon after a tour of the house, Thomas was busy working the room for internships.

“People need more people working hands on rather than through the computer,” he said. “I mean, you can’t build a house through a computer.”

Across Dallas ISD, students earning certifications from business to the trades rose from 310 in 2010-2011 to 6,438 in 2015-2016, according to the district. It's an uptick that Doug Palmer, a construction teacher at Skyline, wants to see keep growing.

“People don’t realize the opportunities for young people right now in the construction field,” Palmer said. “This is going to be a living for them. It’s a way of having a good living. If you learn a skill, who’s to say you can’t go into business for yourself?"