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This article first appeared in the March 2019 issue of Pro Builder.

As the industry enters its busiest season, the ongoing skilled labor shortage continues to make it difficult for builders to meet demand, and fuels affordability concerns.

More than 80 percent of builders and remodelers in a recent National Association of Home Builders survey reported labor shortages in all 15 skilled trade occupations. There are currently about 280,000 unfilled construction trade positions. The NAHB is addressing the labor shortage in several ways.

The Skilled Labor Fund provides scholarships to attend accredited training schools. Through education, students may develop lifelong, marketable skills while contributing to the broader community. NAHB created the fund in 2017 in concert with its philanthropic arm, the National Housing Endowment, and the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and SGC Horizon, the parent company of Professional Builder magazine.

The Home Builders Institute (HBI), NAHB’s educational arm, is one of the nation’s key providers of construction skills training. HBI training programs are taught to youth and adult populations, veterans, ex-offenders, and displaced workers. With an 80 percent job placement rate, HBI programs consistently benefit graduates and their communities while providing the industry with a steady flow of skilled workers. Last year, HBI received a $50 million grant from The Home Depot Foundation to train 20,000 new skilled workers over the next 10 years. (Read the interview with HBI president and CEO Ed Brady for more insights.)

Home builder associations across the country are working to buoy interest in residential construction through a robust student chapters program that engages students locally and provides them with industry exposure. NAHB and its affiliated associations are working with local and state governments and public school systems to spur more skills-training programs.

And the National Housing Endowment awards nearly $200,000 annually to develop and expand construction management programs. These programs at two- and four-year colleges and universities train future generations of industry leaders.

Reflecting growing demand for construction skills training, Congress is also considering ways to increase accessibility.

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The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index shows that builder confidence grew 2 points in January. In November, new-home sales increased 17 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 657,000. In the second week of February, the effective rate for 30-year fixed mortgages dropped 6 basis points month over month. Remodeling spending rose 12.2 percent in November.

The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing more than 140,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing, and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. For more, visit