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Skilled Workers Sought In Cape Coral Real Estate Boom
CAPE CORAL -
The economy has been good to the city of Cape Coral as it continues to expand. One national poll recently named Cape Coral as the top place in the country to find a job, but the kinds of workers the city needs aren't here, at least not yet.
Cape Coral has added more than 16,000 people to its population over the past five years, and while the people are coming, the skilled labor needed to build their homes and businesses just isn't there.
You could say Cape Coral is in the middle of a real estate explosion. Applications to build single-family homes are up 58-percent over the last year, and 108-percent over 2013.
Even business is booming with commercial permits up 13-percent over 2014, and 183-percent over just two Decembers ago. But there's a big problem.
"There's not enough people to fill those spaces to complete the work," said Matt Sinclair, owner of Sinclair Custom Homes. "We're boomin' right now."
But like many construction companies in Southwest Florida, the skilled labor that can build these houses and businesses isn't there. Projects are taking some builders much longer to complete, slowing down the city's potential progress.
"Basically, that give the customer a timeline. It's gonna be four to six months, then you might as well tack on an extra two to three to four."
And that is driving up the price of real estate. Sinclair would like to see more millennials pursue skilled labor positions.
But those with a skill or trade don't simply have to work in construction. There are plenty of opportunities all over a growing city like Cape Coral.
"Here at Marine Concepts, the company is looking to hire eight employees, just in their manufacturing division," said Matt Chambers, CEO of Marine Concepts. "Our average pay is $47 to 49,000 a year, and most of our employees do not have college degrees."
This helps prove you don't need an expensive education to make a good living.
"Because manufacturing is growing more, we're seeing more of that talent look to manufacturing versus going to college," said Chambers. "It was the heart of this country at one time and it's coming back, and it's coming back strong."
"If they get a trade under their belt at a young age, and they run with it, it's definitely going to benefit them, the community, and the whole industry," said Sinclair.
By Michael Colaianni, Reporter NBC-2 (WBBH)
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