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Union rep says carpentry jobs on rise

PLATTSBURGH — It could be time to learn the tools of the carpentry trade.

Some industry sectors were still rebooting in the wake of COVID-19’s economic shutdown, but the local carpenters union said its field was booming with business around the North Country.

“The availability of jobs in the construction industry up this way are very good at this point,” Matt Osborn, council representative for North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters Local 291, told The Press-Republican.

“The work is out there right now. We’re running back up to 100 percent capacity.”

Osborn represents some 200 Local 291 members in Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Hamilton counties.

When the novel coronavirus peaked across the world, nation and region, New York’s non-essential industries were directed to stop service under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s executive orders that first went into effect in mid-March.

Osborn said carpentry work mostly continued on, though, with 75 percent of the local chapter working through the pandemic.

Osborn said the jobs had recently picked back up in the public and private sector.

“I have members out working on Mount Van Hoevenberg’s new bobsled push track,” Osborn said. “That’s in Lake Placid.”

Other projects were at schools across the region, including SUNY Plattsburgh, as well as residential projects and others.

leading to an uptick in membership levels.

“They are just looking for a new avenue to continue their career,” Osborn said. “The pandemic has benefited us in that way.”

Osborn said the union could accept members of all experience levels, including newcomers to carpentry.

Those members could attend the five-year-long apprenticeship program.

“They go to school and also get on-the-job training,” Osborn said. “That’s where they obtain the knowledge of the trade.”

The representative said that was a popular choice for recent high school graduates, but also people in their early to late 30s who were “looking for a career change.”

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