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Hawaiʻi construction leaders are breaking down their old ways, rebuilding a stronger workforce

Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrea Anderson
U.S. Coast Guard

Hawaiʻi's construction industry is enjoying some major projects, with a couple of headaches along the way.

In a special report on Hawaiʻi's construction industry this week, Pacific Business News spoke with the Hawaiʻi chapters of such trade groups as the General Contractors Association and the Building Industry Association.

Sarah Love, president of the BIA, said her organization is especially focused on working with state and county administrations. They're also working with county planning and permitting departments.

The goal is to remove barriers to construction, including the amount of time it takes to get a building permit. Such barriers keep housing costs higher than they’d otherwise be by constraining supply.

Michelle Heller is the chair of the Construction Industry of Maui. The organization is boosting its scholarship fund and is working with contractors to establish more apprenticeship programs. Both aim to build up the workforce.

Workforce development is also top of mind for Cheryl Walthall, executive director of GCA Hawaii. She notes that major projects coming up will need a lot of hands.

Hawaiian Dredging, for example, is now hiring 150 people as it takes on the $3 billion job of replacing Pearl Harbor’s Drydock No. 3.

Other major projects currently underway this year include the $31 million Waikoloa Affordable Family Rental project being built by Alan Shintani, Inc; and a $35 million new headquarters for Hawaii Electricians Pension Fund by Nordic PCL Construction.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
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