By Evan Axelbank | October 25, 2023 4:02PM | Plant City | FOX 13 News
PLANT CITY, Fla. – Trichelle Jackson’s childhood was filled with Legos and dreams of becoming an architect.
“I love how everything can fit together,” Jackson said.
The Tampa Bay Tech architecture student was one of 300 high and vocational school students to visit a 200-acre site off Park Road in Plant City where Lennar Construction is slated to build more than 1,000 homes.
“I like the hard work put into it and then seeing the finished product in the end and being like ‘I was able to help with that,’” Jackson said. “‘I did that.'”
Lennar started the program a few years ago after it got harder to attract new talent. “We are not going after them saying ‘hey do you want a job?’ They are coming to us saying ‘we want to be part of this, what can I do?’” said Jason Beaver of Lennar Construction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said demand for construction workers is projected to grow 4% over the next 10 years – on par with other jobs.
Florida construction firms are expected to see 10,000 baby boomers retire every day, which means the state will need another 500,000 workers by 2026 to fulfill site demands. “The outlook is great,” said Steve Cona of Associated Builders and Contractors of the Gulf Coast. “I think every construction company in the Tampa Bay region is hiring right now.”
Lennar Construction said thousands of workers will be needed to complete the homes on their 200-acre site. Several dozen houses will be done by this year.
Micah Sugrin, a student at Manatee Technical College, said being on site brought a dose of reality. They were at the site at 4 a.m. “To see all these workers out here, early in the morning to build a home for the American people, it is very interesting, it is very exciting,” Surgin said.
Overall job growth in construction is strong, with 11,000 jobs added in September and an increase of 217,000 jobs year-over-year