We Need Them, They Need Us

A couple of years ago the Cahners Residential Group, which includes Professional Builder, decided to do something about the lack of qualified labor available to the construction industry.

By Dean Horowitz, Publisher | June 29, 2001
Dean Horowitz, Publisher

A couple of years ago the Cahners Residential Group, which includes Professional Builder, decided to do something about the lack of qualified labor available to the construction industry.

First, we established a fund with the NAHB’s Home Builders Institute so Job Corps graduates needing financial assistance in their move from the education environment to the job market could actually get it. The fund has helped many become productive members of some of our readers’ teams.

Next, through the invitation of industry friends, we joined the technical team that launched TeamWorks for SkillsUSA. It is the only vocational competition that requires the completion of a full kitchen and is not exclusive to one discipline. The Stanley Works founded the program, and Bosch Tools soon joined up. Other program participants include New England Classic, Professional Builder, Professional Remodeler, Luxury Home Builder and HousingZone.com.

SkillsUSA is a national organization serving more than a quarter-million high school and college students and professionals who are enrolled in vocational programs. SkillsUSA provides quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development. It builds and reinforces self-confidence, work attitudes and communications skills. It emphasizes total quality at work, high ethical standards, superior technical skills, lifelong education and pride in the dignity of work. SkillsUSA also promotes understanding of the free-enterprise system and involvement in community service.

The second national TeamWorks competition happens this month in Kansas City, Mo. More than 20 state-level winners will compete.

Why are the technical committee members involved?

Bill Robinson: "I see examples on TV and in the real world of how today’s kids are not fit to take their place in the work force.

"However, when I see SkillsUSA students compete, make presentations or simply interact with the world, I am reminded that if we can create a favorable environment, today’s kids are fully capable of making it and of entering the work force as productive, complete individuals. SkillsUSA helps provide that environment.

"Public schools are hard-pressed to provide curriculum tied directly to the real workplace. SkillsUSA provides a conduit for the real needs of the workplace to be made available to instructors and administrators. By getting involved locally in a SkillsUSA chapter as a sponsor, advisory committee member or contest judge, builders can help prepare students for jobs in the construction industry. This equates to better employees, citizens and homeowners."

John Crowley: "Our industry’s difficulty in attracting and retaining a technically astute and competent trade force is its Achilles’ heel. Without leadership and commitment to creating an attractive, professional environment that encourages young people to select a career in home building, the labor issue we now know so well will become our limit to future growth."

Tim Carter: "TeamWorks is vitally important to me. Each day I see constant erosion of quality in the residential construction marketplace. Consumers communicate their frustration to me about this each day. I feel that TeamWorks is an excellent place to stop this erosion and help rebuild high-quality work standards and pride in residential craftsmanship."

For the Cahners group, it fits our mission to enhance the performance of the residential construction industry we serve.


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