The construction industry is a vital employer in the national and regional economy, offering individuals and teams the opportunity to create and build structures that can last for generations. Projects range from office buildings, industrial plants, schools, hospitals, churches, houses, interstate highways, bridges and tunnels. It also includes major maintenance and alteration projects. The Pittsburgh region is rich in projects that have been carefully crafted by men and women with ingenuity and skill. Heinz Field, PNC Park, the U.S. Steel Tower, Veterans Bridge, the elegant Fairmont Hotel, the rehabilitated Point Park fountain and the under-construction Tower at PNC are among the storied local structures to which someone can point and say, “I helped build that.”
The 10-county Pittsburgh region is home to 5,883 establishments employing 53,859 individuals earning an average annual wage of $66,845. The leading occupations are construction laborers, carpenters and plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters. The number of available jobs typically increases when an economy is thriving. The Marcellus Shale natural gas development has created demand for more construction workers and those skills are needed across both sectors. Among important construction companies in the region are i+iconUSA, PJ Dick and Mascaro Construction. The Builders Guild, an initiative of construction initiative of building trade unions, contractor associations and industry professsionals, offers links to some of the tuition-free training programs that can help the region's men and women prepare for family-sustaining jobs.
The Builders Guild is a coalition of 17 building trade unions contractor associations and employer groups that work together to attract new business and jobs to the region, and to offer free apprenticeship training to develop the craftsmen and women of the 21st century. Among the guild's employer groups are the Master Builders' Association of Western Pennsylvania, a group of contractors that was founded in 1886.
Construction offers many different types of career paths, from semi- and skilled craft careers covering more than two dozen trades to jobs in management. Careers run the gamut from carpenter jobs handcrafting furniture, ironworkers scaling bridges and skyscrapers, heavy machinery operators, commercial truck drivers, project managers, architects and civil engineers.
Construction workers are hired by general contractors and subcontractors engaged in new construction, rehabilitation, remodeling and maintenance. Many men and women with construction backgrounds are hired by other companies and agencies to evaluate, plan and oversee construction. Prospective employers in this group include local, state and federal governments; hospitals; schools; and corporations that build and maintain warehouses, factories and offices.
“When it came time to start a family of our own, we wanted to come back to Pittsburgh.”