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Thousands of construction jobs, not enough workers: A Nashville program is trying to change that

Music City Construction Careers hosts 2-week course
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Posted at 5:11 PM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 06:20:49-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee may be second in the nation for construction jobs added since February 2020, but ask any employer and they'll tell you that filling positions is a different story.

A program in Nashville is both building up and diversifying the labor force.

MC3, or Music City Construction Careers, is a two-week course that prepares prospective tradespeople for apprenticeship programs.

"If you want to still live in Nashville and don't have to worry about moving and things of that nature, Union-skilled trades is the way to go," said Nathaniel Carter, co-coordinator.

Carter is a trained electrician.

"You can take this craft and skill and go from 30% AMI to 100% AMI. It's people that are wearing steel-toed boots, that are dirty — people look at them like they are disgusting — they are making over $100,000 a year," Carter said.

MC3 student Kierstin Wyman recently moved from Chicago.

"I was looking at rents and it's insane, and some jobs pay like $14 and $15 an hour, and that's no way to live," said Kierstin Wyman.

She hopes a career as an ironworker will give her some financial stability.

Wyman and her fellow classmates will be required, as beginners, to work under the supervision of a professional for several years. When they graduate from the MC3 program, they're placed in an apprenticeship in two weeks' time.

"I feel like I'm taking the proper steps I need to for my career," said Wyman.

In Tennessee, you can make $30 to $60 an hour by the end of an apprenticeship. Sticking with the trade can really pay off.

"If they work 20 consecutive years in one particular trade they can have $2 million in their pension," Carter said.

Full-time Union apprentices also usually get health insurance and a pension.