YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Western Reserve Building and Construction Trades Council projects a strong building season in 2023.
“Just looking at the forecast over the next couple of years – it looks pretty good,” says Martin Loney, business manager for Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396 and the council’s president.
The largest single project this year is the Trumbull Energy Center, a $1.2 billion combined-cycle electricity plant slated for Lordstown.
“Pretty much all the trades will be represented on that project,” Loney says. Site work has begun and the construction phase should take from 36 to 40 months.
The Building Trades Council represents 23 local craft unions across the Mahoning Valley that collectively list approximately 9,000 members.
Loney says staffing projects during 2022 wasn’t too difficult, despite major jobs that required significant manpower, such as the $2.3 billion Ultium Cells plant in Lordstown.
Still, megaprojects in the Columbus area, such as Intel’s $20 billion silicon chip manufacturing campus and Honda’s $3.5 billion electric-vehicle battery plant, are sure to have an impact in the Valley.
“The Intel campus is a 10-year project and will likely draw workers from this area,” Loney says. “Those haven’t kicked off yet.”
He says it’s important that young people are introduced to the trades as a future career option.
The Building Trades Council, the Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania and area career and tech centers, have made great strides in reaching young people in the schools and introducing them to the building trades as a future career option.
The Mahoning Valley Construction Coalition, created by the Building Trades Council and the Builders Association, has organized job fairs and expositions focused on young people.
“I’d say the interest in the trades has never been better in the last 20 years or so,” Loney says.