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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
    Cesar Chavez

    :: Sunday, December 18, 2005 ::

    Business: There's a gap in the boom - By TOM ZUCCO, St. Petersburg Times, FL
    It sounded like something out of a low-budget horror movie.

    'They stole him,' Tom Slepetz said, the shock still evident in his voice.

    The office manager at A. McBride Concrete and Masonry Inc. in Pinellas Park, Slepetz explained that his company had hired a superintendent for a large project last summer. But after just three months on the job, the super had vanished.

    Who took him?

    'The people we were doing the job for,' Slepetz said. 'There's a lot of that going on.'

    Gov. Jeb Bush announced last week the state will spend $6-million toward training programs that can quickly get carpenters, roofers and other workers to job sites. A survey by the state found there were nearly 14,000 construction jobs that builders need to fill.

    The average pay for those jobs was nearly $15 an hour, and some could pay as much as $30 an hour.

    "We're not teaching these trades anymore," Sher said. "All the old-timers are retiring, and I'm not sure we're replacing them.

    "Where are all the new electricians?"
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