PEMBROKE – This weekend, thousands of South Shore high school seniors will toss their mortarboards in the air and go home with freshly minted diplomas, eager to chart their own paths.
David Kingsley would love it if even just a few of them would come work for him.
But Kingsley, the co-owner of a Pembroke waterproofing company, knows that the majority of this spring’s graduates will head off to four-year colleges in the fall, and many of those who don’t will likely be hired by other companies desperate for skilled, and even unskilled, workers as the region’s unemployment rate hovers below 3 percent.
That’s because his is among the countless companies statewide now scrambling to find employees amid a skills shortage that has prompted tens of millions of dollars in state spending and has some calling on high schools to encourage students to consider vocational training and trade work as an alternative to four-year college degrees that are increasingly accompanied by crippling student debt.
“We want to grow the company,” said Kingsley, who co-owns Watchman Waterproofing and has about 17 employees. “We want to expand, but we can’t because we just don’t have the help.”
In the Boston area housing market, there’s no longer an upside to downsizing for many empty nesters.
LET ME FIRST APOLOGIZE for any part my wife and I may be playing in worsening the Massachusetts housing shortage. Our youngest child has a freshly minted college diploma and a job. That officially makes us empty nesters, although our golden doodle might object to the description. After more than 20 years at the same address in Plymouth, we’re theoretically in a position to downsize, to ditch the drudgery of yardwork and upkeep for a simpler life governed by condo association rules. We’ve built up a pile of equity. Our 120-year-old house sits on a corner lot in a “desirable” part of Plymouth, about two blocks off the ocean. It’s updated and spacious, ideal for a growing family stretching at the seams.