Overland Park facing shortage of construction workers during development boom

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Building projects are delayed in Overland Park in the middle of a building boom because supply can't keep up with demand. The city is facing a shortage of construction workers.

It takes more than a screwdriver and a good idea to build new homes. City council members in Overland Park have their eyes on a series of new builds in Johnson County that are behind schedule, including a couple on 80th Street.

Brenner Holland is a vice-president with Hunt Midwest, the firm that's building The Vue, a 219-unit project. Holland said The Vue is on schedule, but he's heard city leaders asking construction crews to finish up, including those engineered by construction crews who say they can't get enough skilled laborers.

"Generally, on our construction schedule, we're very close," he said.

But The Vue is only one job, and Holland sympathizes with his colleagues who can't find trained construction workers to help finish up.

"We met with the council the other day," Brenner said. "They have expressed concern they want to get some of this parking back open here in downtown Overland Park."

The Prometory Apartments, which sit closer to 90th and Metcalf, are also nearing completion. Ryan Osborne, who works with Flight Three Real Estate, told FOX4 that labor shortages are nothing new.

"Money becomes a big factor," he said.

The competition to land labor is something Clyde McQueen is familiar with. He's the president of the Full Employment Council, which trains construction workers in the metro.

"Now, we're faced with importing talent," McQueen said. "That drives up the cost curve. This is a perfect storm for good, but it also means we have to do business differently."

Holland said it takes anywhere from 30-100 workers on a construction site, depending on what skills are needed. He said good firms are still making an effort to ensure they have the right workers to complete the jobs.