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RALEIGH, N.C. — Crews can't build new homes fast enough to ease the Triangle's housing crunch. Alongside supply chain issues and the fast pace of people moving into the Triangle, staffing shortages are compounding the issue.

The construction industry is dealing with a record number of unfilled jobs. The new jobs report shows 449,000 open positions nationwide in April. That's 120,000 more than a year ago. David Price, president of the Home Builders Association of Raleigh, says not enough students are going into the construction trades to replace a workforce that's aging out of the job. "We’re in about a 40-50,000 home deficit right now," says Price.

He says the Triangle's home construction workforce is stressed and struggling to keep up with the pace of people moving here. "You’ve got workforce development issues, supply chain issues, and municipalities being understaffed so permits are slower to get out," he says. Price says the time it's taking to build a new home is about double what it used to be. It can take 12 to 14 months now. The association is working to recruit more students and instructors in the trades. The state is providing $5 million to launch the Be Pro, Be Proud campaign to help in those recruitment efforts. Interactive trailers will roll out to middle and high schools across North Carolina to show students careers in the trades that don't require a 4-year degree. "There is another path for a lot of people that will make them a lot of money and a very good living," says Price.

The Home Builders Association is also providing $10,000 in scholarships to Wake Technical Community College.

"We cannot find enough bodies," says Delfino Rangel, an instructor at Wake Technical Community College. "It’s why I decided to start teaching again. We have to find some way to replace all of us."

These efforts are part of why James Badue, a carpentry student at Wake Tech, is nailing down a new career path. He and his classmates are working toward their Home Builders Institute certification. They'll be able to put their tools down here after three months of training and step right onto a construction job. "I have four daughters and a son, and I want to get a job where I can advance my career and do things I know I’ll do for my family," says Badue.

That's why Badue and many students like him are building a foundation in construction – and hopefully building the future of the Triangle's housing.

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