BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The nationwide unemployment rate for construction workers is lower than it's been in 18 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). In Louisiana, more people are now working in industrial construction than during this time last year.
Industrial manufacturing is a top industry in Baton Rouge.
ABC Pelican Chapter President David Helveston says his area chapter of the workforce training organization is preparing students for a boom in the industry in 2019. About 2,000 students are enrolled in a hands-on training program through ABC in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles.
"2019 is going to be a huge year for the industrial construction market," he said. "You've got the expansions, plus the investments from the chemical and manufacturing industry in the area."
ABC offers night classes to certify construction workers in certain courses that can help to get them a job. Helveston says as the economy grows, local plants will be more likely to invest, expand, and perform maintenance on aging facilities.
"The opportunities are endless," he said. "From your soap, to your shampoo, to the plastics that you consume, it's all coming out of those facilities. It's essential to everyday life."
ABC is now trying to convince people that construction work, with proper instruction, is safe and valuable so Baton Rouge will have plenty of prepared workers when jobs begin trickling in.