Working in the residential construction market for most of my career has been one of the highlights of my life. The new-construction and remodeling industries are filled with hardworking, honest, successful, generous people. This culture is what attracted so many of us to this market and has inspired us to stay and try to make a positive difference.
We all know that there is a two-headed monster facing the construction industry. Our inability to attract new talent, coupled with the aging of our present workforce, is the most serious issue affecting growth in the market. While some attempts have been made to solve the problem, there is no single, concerted, industrywide effort that attacks this issue head on.
I am proposing that we do exactly that.
SGC Horizon, publisher of Professional Builder, along with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, the National Kitchen & Bath Association, and This Old House have joined forces and formed the Skilled Labor Fund.
Our goal is simple: to attract and train new workers to our industry by providing scholarships for accredited schools. The schools, in turn, will fund qualified students who are interested in a career in the residential construction field. Any nonprofit educational institution can apply to receive and offer scholarships, including apprenticeship programs, junior colleges, and organizations such as the Home Builders Institute and SkillsUSA. The Skilled Labor Fund is part of the NAHB’s National Housing Endowment, but its mission is executed at the local level. This means your donation can assist students in your market.
The labor problem won’t be solved without a concerted effort. Every company in the construction market needs to take ownership of this issue. I am asking you or your business to pitch in and make a contribution to the Skilled Labor Fund in 2018. Of course I want you to dig deep and make the largest contribution possible, but honestly, what’s most important is that everyone gives something, no matter the amount. Our strength is in our unity. It’s critical that we are all in on this: builders, remodelers, product manufacturers, service companies, media companies, and associations.
This is our industry and we are the ones who need to make this happen. Please reach out to me with any questions, ideas, or feedback at [email protected].