The Labor Shortage: How Did We Get Here and What's Being Done to Fix It?

The labor shortage is hindering the growth of construction firms – and all the trades. And with $1 trillion in infrastructure spending coming during the next five years, the shortage will only deepen if something isn’t done.

In this episode of The Dirt, we talk with Brian McGuire, CEO and president of the Associated Equipment Distributors, about what’s happening in Washington to address it and what the industry as a whole needs to be doing about it.

One of the biggest challenges McGuire sees is breaking the stereotypes about the trades and the blind belief that a four-year college degree is the only way to a good career. He instead hopes parents, schools and students will focus more on lifelong learning and alternatives to the debt-ridden path of a four-year degree. Contractors can also play a part by reaching out to  schools and showing that a career in construction can be rewarding and lucrative.

In the last five years, he says, he’s seen some encouraging signs. Congress is listening and is aware of the problem. AED and others in the industry are taking steps to improve outreach and increase educational programs for young people. But more needs to be done.

McGuire has seen some efforts pay off and has some suggestions on what contractors can do individually and as a group to change the perception of a career in the trades. One big recommendation involves how to get local school boards to focus more on vocational education.

Equipment World serves up weekly videos on the latest in construction equipment, work trucks and pickup trucks – everything contractors need to get their work done. Subscribe and visit us at!