Edmonton construction industry is booming, St. Albert hopes to follow

New building projects have led to a boom in Edmonton's skilled trade employment, and St. Albert is hoping to emulate the larger city's growth strategies to bring industry jobs back.

New building projects have led to a boom in Edmonton's skilled trade employment, and St. Albert is hoping to emulate the larger city's growth strategies to bring industry jobs back.

Edmonton's downtown will play host to several new building projects over the next few years, and that means opportunity for businesses and workers alike. The increase in commercial and government investment in Edmonton has led to a thriving environment for skilled workers – so much so that employers can't fill the vacant positions fast enough. 

Employers kick recruiting effort into overdrive
CTV News Edmonton reported that downtown residents can expect to see a number of new buildings being built as well as some old buildings getting a face lift. Among the projects expected to break ground are the new Royal Alberta Museum, a high rise condominium, and two new office buildings. Regardless of what the projects are, an increasing number of positions related to their completion have become available for workers, positions that have yet to be completely filled.

The demand for workers not only in the construction industry, but manufacturing and metal working as well, has employers trying everything they can to drum up interest and find new skilled tradesmen. One metal working company is so determined to attract workers that they bought radio air time in order to advertise their company to prospective employees. 

While some have wondered if the surge in employment in Edmonton is going to last, Larry Villeneuve with the Construction and General Workers Union Local 92 doesn't seem to be very worried about it.

"Can it be sustained? I believe so, I think it's a really great opportunity, as a result of all the growth that's going on," Villeneuve said. 

St. Albert wants its share of the wealth
The last few years have seen St. Albert's workforce turn away from industry and toward healthcare, business and other administrative jobs. In fact, according to the St. Albert Gazette, many St. Albert residents are leaving home to go work in Edmonton, where skilled trade jobs are more plentiful. Naturally, the booming construction industry in Edmonton has piqued the interest of St. Albert's leadership, leading them to discuss ways to bring some of Edmonton's good fortune in industry to their city and entice those who left to come back.

A study showed that construction, forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying and oil and gas were among the fastest growing industries in the Alberta province as of 2013. City leaders are using that information to find ways to make their city more attractive for commercial investments – ones that will allow St. Albert to take part in the region's skilled trade boom.