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May 23, 2006 9:25 AM

Want a job?

Xcel Energy is looking for more than a few good workers.

The company is having trouble finding hundreds of people needed to build a $1.4 billion power plant in Pueblo, reports Gargi Chakrabarty.

A lack of skilled workers - electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, carpenters, welders and boiler makers - along with union restrictions on whom it can hire are part of the problem. Fewer than 400 workers showed up at a job fair last week in Pueblo, which has the highest unemployment rate among the state's metro areas.

Construction projects around the state as well as rebuilding in Gulf Coast hurricane areas are drawing workers away from Pueblo. Howard Arnold, of the Pipefitters union believes the aging of baby boomers is affecting the availability of skilled workers. Ray Aguilera, a Pueblo City Councilman, said young people are encouraged to attend college but few are encouraged to go to trade schools to become plumbers or pipefitters:

"It is easier to find a brain surgeon than to get an electrician to come to your home. It is a complicated situation."

Discussion

  • May 23, 2006

    11:08 AM

    Elwood writes:

    Key Phrase -

    "with union restrictions on whom it can hire are part of the problem."

    I guess Unions have a problem with just anybody getting a job. If the person has the skills required, they should be allowed to work, no union dues required!

  • May 23, 2006

    11:11 AM

    Cash Money writes:

    Prince Bandar or however you spell his name built a 55,000 SQ FT. mansion up in the hills near Aspen. Not a convenient drive or location for any tradesman. These guys drove in from areas such as Rifle or stayed in motels for this job. Oh, the job didn't pay peanuts.
    Try raising the stakes idiots.

  • May 23, 2006

    11:13 AM

    W.C. Ford writes:

    I've got access to tens of thousand of Union stiffs looking for a paycheck. Where's Pueblo?

  • May 23, 2006

    12:06 PM

    jay writes:

    Likewise, I own a recruiting firm....let me know where I can start sending resumes.

  • May 23, 2006

    1:15 PM

    Anonymous writes:

    There is two contradicting statements in the story above.

    In one statement it stated Pueblo has the highest unemployment rate among the states metro areas.

    In another statement it stated Construction projects around the state as well rebuilding Gulf Coast Hurricane areas are drawing workers away from Pueblo.

    How can Pueblo have the highest unemployment rate if the workers are working elsewhere?

    Something doesn't add up.

  • May 23, 2006

    1:46 PM

    harry palm writes:

    Well, here is one area where everyone so far lacks any insight into how power house construction works. First off, NO ONE in the non union world does powerhouses. Power houses are union electricians claim to fame. This is where the quote "2,000 bucks a week for hide and seek" comes from. Basically, guys would sleep all day and collect huge paychecks. I know dudes from Virginia that were fired from power house jobs for working to quick and making the union look bad.

    The job is set aside for union because this is the type of job that only the union can finish, which is sad. I am a big supporter of open shops, however after all my years in the electrical industry I have to say, here in colorado the non union people are worthless when it comes to complicated jobs. They are poorly trained and when it comes to wiring a TJ max or a mall, they do fine, but cant do Qwest work, line work, powerhouses, or anything that requires a great deal of layout. The biggest thing is, in a power house, EVERYTHING is exposed. So you cant get away with shady pipe bending, or hope the drywall is going to cover your mistakes. Unions are notirious for immaculate pipe bending skills, the problem is they take forever to get it done. So there is some insight. Oh, and the powerhouse is paying a premium and perdiums and such, however no one wants to work in a dirty powerhouse

  • May 24, 2006

    7:39 AM

    Anonymous writes:

    My husband is in the union.has been for a long time.He works with non-union workers,usally mexicans.He is a foreman on some jobs and usally is fixing mistakes by the supposed carpenters.He loves when they put the drywall on backwards ,he came home one day and told me they had framed a room and started hanging the drywall backwards of course and they couldn't read the plans and built a square room with no door.He is constantly fixing doors other people put up backwards,hinges in wrong,upside down,it's hilarious what he sees pass for carpenters these days.

  • May 24, 2006

    12:16 PM

    PFC writes:

    And we wonder why people couldn't afford to heat their homes last winter!!!

  • May 25, 2006

    10:12 AM

    David Hakala writes:

    No, thanks, I don't want a job. I prefer a way to make money, legally. There's a huge difference.

    A job is where someone pays you to do what he doesn't want to do himself. That usuall means the job sucks. If you restrict your search to jobs, your life is likely to suck.

    Find something you like doing and then get to be good at it. If you do it better than someone can, he'll pay you to do it for him.

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