Skilled to Work: Roto Rooter struggles to find skilled workers

A local plumbing company needs to find skilled workers or it will have to keep turning down jobs.

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 3:22 PM
Updated: Jul 25, 2018 3:24 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- As more and more qualified employees retire from trades every day, employers are struggling to replace them with skilled workers. Roto Rooter, a plumbing company in Oregon, said they’re struggling with that very same problem.

Don Sherwood, an owner at Roto Rooter, said he often can’t take all the jobs he’s offered, and that’s becoming a problem for their business.

“I guarantee you the consumer’s feeling it right now. They’re feeling it because there are days I turn down more plumbing jobs than I’m completing,” Sherwood said.

He said they’re struggling to find qualified young workers to fill the roles of those retiring, and if something doesn’t change soon, it’s going to be dangerous for the business and consumers will start to notice more than they already have.

“Between here and our central Oregon location, we have seven journeymen plumbers. And we have more work than we can complete if we do it by the State of Oregon law,” Sherwood said.

Sherwood said he started out in a four-year college but quickly found it wasn’t for him. He wants to encourage students to look at a trade as they exit high school. He said students should consider that they can earn both an education and work experience with an apprenticeship. They could come out debt-free and contribute to saving trades the community needs.

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