The lines were long at Saturday’s first-ever job fair hosted by the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters.
“A career in the construction industry as a carpenter, or in drywall, is actually some of the best kinds of careers you can have in Hawaii,” said Pacific Resource Partnership Executive Director John White. “Many of our experienced carpenters and dry-wallers get over $40 a hour in pay. It’s really white-collar pay for blue-collar work.”
“There’s so much buildings going up right now, there’s definitely a reason why,” said carpenter Chad Sloan. “You see all the cranes and the high rises going up. There’s a demand, especially for finished carpenters.”
The state’s largest contractors were at the job fair, and while organizers hoped to hire 200 qualified people, White said “a lot of them got hired today — dozens of people who came here today were hired on the spot,” like Sloan himself.
“I have a friend that works for a company, Bruce Matson, he told me to come down and check it out, and I did,” he said. “I kept asking what it would take to work for them, they gave me an application, went from there.
“It feels good, really good. I feel fortunate,” Sloan added.
Contractors were looking for skilled workers with at least 3 years experience, but White said there’s still a way to get your foot in the door.
“We have an apprenticeship program,” he said. “If you’re interested in starting a career in the construction industry, you would start there. This particular boom may last longer than any booms in Hawaii’s past. We don’t see a slowdown occurring anytime in the near future.”