The housing industry is the strongest it has been in a long time, but in order to secure its future, builders must bolster youth interest in the trades. In a move underscoring the importance of youth outreach, the Home Builders Institute and the Home Depot Foundation announced that they will grant up to $500,000 to fund high school student training in the construction field. Not only will this grant provide hands-on training for high schoolers, but it will also lead to a NAHB-endorsed pre-apprenticeship certification recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. By showcasing an attractive path to a full-time career, the organizations hope to recruit fledgling builders to close the labor gap, which will be increasingly important as the industry ramps up again after a decade of relatively low activity due to the Great Recession.
The Home Builders Institute (HBI) this week announced The Home Depot Foundation will commit up to $500,000 to fund student training in home construction careers in high schools across the country. Additionally, the National Housing Endowment (NHE), the philanthropic arm of NAHB, has pledged $200,000 in support of the effort. This combined $700,000 will provide training to thousands of students for construction trades skills.
The funds will allow HBI to provide a hands-on curriculum for high school students nationwide, along with instructor training and materials. Upon completion, students will earn a pre-apprenticeship certification endorsed by NAHB and recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. The programs will be available at no additional cost to students and their families.
Industry data shows there are an estimated 311,000 open jobs, like carpentry, electrical, plumbing and others in residential construction.
The Foundation and HBI will work with the nearly 650 state and local home builders associations (HBAs) to reach out to teachers, parents and students. “It will be HBAs and their members who will help us coordinate directly with high schools in their communities to put these new funds to work,” Brady said.
“HBAs represent home builders, remodelers and contractors in every corner of the country and are critically important partners in the success of this initiative,” said Mark Pursell, NHE President and CEO.
“Residential construction growth will continue in 2020 and thereafter, supported by low interest rates, solid economic growth and a lack of housing inventory,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.