Ohio’s giant Intel project could siphon Dayton workers: What it means locally

Construction of Intel’s chip plants in Ohio will require about 7,000 construction workers, and local industry experts say that could impact Dayton-area projects as people with skills seek those jobs in the Columbus area.

Dayton already doesn’t have enough qualified construction workers, said Charlie Setterfield, the Built Environment department chair for Sinclair College. He said construction professionals are often calling his department seeking more help.

“There is a shortage, and that is true in the entire built environment field,” Setterfield said. “Architects, contractors, construction companies, everybody is looking for talent right now.”

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

And the shortfall could grow as Ohio’s largest-ever economic development project is starting about 30 minutes east of Columbus. The $20 billion semiconductor manufacturing operation will have two factories and will employ 3,000 people when they open in 2025. The average salary will be about $135,000, and Ohio offered Intel roughly $2 billion in incentives, including a 30-year tax break, to bring the project here.

The 1,000-acre site must be leveled for the semiconductor factories to be built — opportunities that will be high-paying and entice professionals everywhere, said Troy Erbes, Senior Vice President of Danis.

“Absolutely it will have an impact not only in the 614 area code but our area code and beyond,” Erbes said. “I think you’re going to see some national players look at that as an opportunity to work with them up there. I think it’s not just here, it’s going to be all over the Midwest.”

Cory Farmer, vice president of the Dayton region for Danis, said that means business owners and people planning to build need to think ahead. It’s also important for construction companies to pay attention to the developments.

“It’s going to continue to put upward pressure on wages and so on and so forth,” Farmer said. “So companies just need to continue to look at their policies and their compensation and ... make sure you’re not losing those folks that maybe looking for opportunities.”

There are several large projects in the region right now needing workers, said Blaine Heeter, the trade and industry department supervisor at Miami Valley Career Technology Center.

“The gap between needed skilled workers (entry-level) will continue should construction project needs continue to grow,” Heeter said.

And there is interest in the field from students. Over the last several years, enrollment in the building and construction pathway has increased, and most of the programs are at full capacity when the school year starts.

“They’re great-paying jobs and are great careers,” Farmer said. “I think as a society and as an industry we need to continue to educate young people on what the opportunities are and what a career looks like in construction.”

He said there is a lot of different types a jobs a person can learn when they enter the field.

“A career in skill trades is a great path for a lot of people,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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