Making More Professional Builders

For how many years have we all been complaining about the shortage of quality labor and the competition for the labor that already exists?

By Dean Horowitz, Publisher | June 12, 2000


Dean Horowitz, Publisher

For how many years have we all been complaining about the shortage of quality labor and the competition for the labor that already exists?

I know, "too many."

Professional Builder's team recognized the significance of associating our brand with labor solutions. We realized the power of increasing the labor pool for our readers and the lifetime recognition the publication would receive from a quality labor force.

One opportunity opened up for us a few months ago when John Crowley of New England Classic invited me to participate in the SkillsUSA-VICA Team Build.

The Team Build competition occurs June 26-June 30th at the Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, MO. It is one of 70 hands-on competitions that are part of SkillsUSA-VICA's 36th National Leadership and Skills Conference.

The Team Build event was designed by Stanley Works and SkillsUSA-VICA with a group of industry leaders including Rick Wolverton from Stanley Works; Peter Anderson, building trades instructor at Pulaski County (Va.) High School; Tim Carter, publisher of "Ask the Builder," a syndicated newspaper column; John Crowley, president of New England Classics, Inc.; Joe Keppler, president of Construction Management Advisory Group; Bill Robinson, editor of the Journal of Light Construction and Director for JLC Live!; and the Cahners Residential Group.

Gregor McCluskey, director of Promotions for Stanley Works, has been the key person driving the program and has done an outstanding job of building a first-year event. He has demonstrated a beyond-the-call support of education, training opportunities, partnerships and the value of the building trades as a professional career choice.

"Team Build is about more than technical skills. It's about helping students understand the importance of teamwork and how necessary it is to succeed in any business," McCluskey said. "Through this event, we hope to instill the kind of team building skills and overall spirit of cooperation required on any job site."

A portion of the advertising revenue received for this June issue will be donated, in the name of full page or larger advertisers, to a Team Build scholarship fund. The idea is to leverage not only our personal involvement as representatives of PB, but also allow the industry to participate with a very low point of entry. Basically, advertise in one of our June magazines and you are a participant. Simple.

Another program that we are launching with this issue in mind is the Philip Polivchak Transition Fund, or as we call it in our offices, "The Phil Fund." It honors Phil, who served the industry for 33 years and was the past President and Chief Executive Officer of the Home Builders Institute (HBI), the educational arm of the NAHB. Like the Team Build Scholarship, a portion of the advertising revenue from this issue will be donated to the HBI to help Job Corps graduates make the transition to the work-a-day world.

Job Corps has trained and placed more than 200,000 individuals into the construction trades. Sometimes it is only the requirement of a security deposit on an apartment that stands in the way of your next skilled worker. This fund will assist in the delivery of your new workforce.

Professional Builder will also print posters carrying its full page advertisers' names as a promotion for the building trades as a career. They will be distributed to high schools, junior colleges and anywhere served by the Job Corps initiatives.

The PB team hopes this becomes a first step in our readers' involvement in labor solutions. Hopefully you will become more involved in public schools and partnerships that make a difference.

A close friend who is a builder recently joked that I am spending too much personal time with these programs. He said they really don't matter. He followed his ribbing with some comments about not being able to find any good framers in his area.


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