Construction recruitment in Arizona fills demands for jobs, new housing

Nov 19, 2020, 4:45 AM | Updated: 9:30 am
(DP Electric/Ben Nelson)...
(DP Electric/Ben Nelson)
(DP Electric/Ben Nelson)

PHOENIX — Housing inventory continues to plunge in metro Phoenix, according to Zillow who finds it’s down 21.5% year-over-year.

Construction jobs are in high demand, so one man switched careers to make more money and put people into new homes.

Asael Salazar, 21, of Surprise was packing boxes on an Amazon conveyer belt, but he wanted to do something more.

“Amazon is a great job, but you can’t really take those skill sets somewhere else in the position I was,” Salazar said. “So, I wanted something that could secure me with a skill for life.”

And yet, it was Amazon that introduced Salazar to an opportunity to become an electrician.

“The skill is in demand,” Salazar said. “There’s always going to be electricity, things to fix and things to build.”

That means commercial properties and especially homes. Build Your Future Arizona connects construction companies with new apprentices they desperately need.

“Craft laborers all the way up to electricians, plumbers and carpenters,” said Jennifer Mellor, chief innovation officer at the Greater Phoenix Chamber. “And there’s lots of really great opportunities for advancement.”

Mellor oversees the program. She hopes to eliminate the perception of “dirty” construction jobs.

“Safety is of utmost importance for all of our construction companies,” she said. “When you go onto these job sites, they’re pristine, probably cleaner than my own house.”

Salazar joined DP Electric in Tempe, where he has seen his wages – and buildings – go up.

“After we’re done laying all of the foundation, once they start putting up the walls, that’s when we start installing the receptacles and the pipes,” he said.

As much as he enjoys his new career, Salazar doesn’t want to be an electrician forever.

He said he plans to become a project manager where he can oversee how things are run.

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Construction recruitment in Arizona fills demands for jobs, new housing