Get Bored

This Year, let's get tired of talking about the labor crisis.
By Dean Horowitz, Publisher | December 31, 1999
This year, let’s get tired of talking about the labor crisis. Let’s get bored complaining about labor’s disinterest in the building trades. Together as an industry, let’s embrace the training programs that address these issues in a meaningful way.

I am, of course, talking about VICA and Jobs Corps. Having the opportunity to make a difference is available to each of us. A friend recently invited me to join the SkillsUSA-VICA’s Team Building Demonstration Contest as a Technical Committee member. I immediately took him up on the offer.

Skills USA-VICA is a national organization serving nearly 250,000 college and high school students and professional members enrolled in training programs. Team Build USA is a competitive two-day event at the SkillsUSA-VICA National Championships in Kansas City, Missouri in June 2000. It will test the masonry, carpentry, electrical, plumbing and business organizational skills of four people who must work together as a team. Students will have to schedule a project, estimate materials, make a verbal presentation, and then construct the project that tests their construction, organizational, and safety skills. This demonstration project will benefit all young people who are potentially interested in the building trades. To get involved contact Tim Lawrence, Director, SkillsUSA Championships at 703/777-8810.

The next jewel we have begun working with is the Job Corp program. NAHB’s Home Builders Institute runs 67 Job Corps site programs that have educated and graduated more than 100,000 students. Job Corps’ primary focus is providing "at risk" students the opportunity to enter into the building trades. They are 16-24 years of age and most are high school dropouts. Their Job Corp program in-cludes the credits necessary to earn a GED while learning a vocation. Those with a high school diploma can focus full time on their vocational training.

As in past years, Job Corps students will demonstrate their skills during The International Builders Show, Dallas Convention Center, January 14-17, booth 2987. This is an excellent time to make yourself aware of this valuable training and recruitment resource. To recruit students contact Keith Albright, vp for placement services, 800/959- 0052, extension 7743.

The biggest problem for these economically disadvantaged, yet educated, young people is their inability to pull together enough money to commute, or relocate, to where jobs opportunities exist. Job Corps provides an $800 stipend upon graduation, but it isn’t always enough. Pulling enough money together to get automobile insurance, a down payment on an apartment, securing utilities, or buying necessary items is a significant hurdle to their successful transition from the Job Corps to employment.

PB will establish, in 2000, a contribution channel to the HBI Job Corp Placement Fund. We will join the other businesses that have championed this program and take pride in doing what our free enterprise system was intended to achieve during its best moments.

This is the part where I ask you to participate. I won’t. No words from me can push you to take an active role if you’re not ready. I hope you do for doing so means you’re committed to putting an end to the labor shortage and proving that our industry can take care of its own problems.


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