Baltimore County closed reservations for an information session last week about upcoming jobs and contracting opportunities at Sparrows Point Shipyard and Industrial Park when demand overwhelmed the room’s capacity.
Due to high interest in the 100 jobs and an unspecified number of subcontractors for which SKW Constructors will begin hiring this spring, county officials are holding additional information sessions for job seekers in March and April. Reservations must be made in advance through the Maryland Workforce Exchange.
Based in Virginia Beach, Va., SKW Constructors has a contract with the state of Virginia for the $2.1 billion Elizabeth River Tunnels project. SKW Constructors is a consortium of Skanska USA Civil Southeast Inc
., Kiewit Infrastructure Co. and Weeks Marine Inc.
SKW Constructors’ spokeswoman Jessica Murray says hiring will begin this spring and continue as the project progresses.
Murray says SKW Contractors is hiring the following positions: carpenters, concrete finishers, electricians, laborers, mechanics, reinforcing ironworkers, structural ironworkers, surveyors and truck drivers. The company will provide on-the-job training for carpenters, concrete finishers, reinforcing and structural ironworkers, and surveying.
The project is expected to take five years total, about half of that time in Sparrows Point and the other half in Virginia.
“It’s a huge project,” says Murray of the construction of a tunnel and other transportation-related construction in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She says Sparrows Point was chosen for the first half of the project because “the old factory works great for us.”
According to Leila Rice, public affairs manager of Elizabeth River Crossing, Sparrows Point was chosen because "it was the closest proximity on the East Coast [that had the capability] of making tunnel sections the size we needed."
Elizabeth River Crossing is overseeing the Elizabeth River Tunnels project and other transportation-related work such as a highway extension and repair of another tunnel. Rice expects the project to be completed by 2018, after which her company will operate and maintain the tunnels.
At Sparrows Point, workers will pour and manufacture concrete tunnel sections. When finished, they will be floated to Norfolk, Va., and installed next to the existing but congested almost one-mile-long tunnel that runs under the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth. The two tunnels will each become one way.
SKW Constructors has already spent $5 million on 57 Baltimore area subcontractors to prepare Sparrows Point for making the tunnel sections.
Helga Weschke, chief of the division of business development in the Baltimore County department of economic development, says SKW Constructors will have an on-the-job training program for apprentices. For subcontractors, she says it is seeking in particular minority- and women-owned companies and small businesses in order to reach goals to qualify for federal funding.
“If they fall into one of the three categories, they have to go through the Virginia certification process even if they have Maryland certification,” says Weschke.
Sources: Jessica Murray, SKW Contractors; Helga Weschke, Baltimore County department of economic development; Leila Rice, Elizabeth River Crossing
Writer: Barbara Pash