Colorado Mandates Intro to Skilled Labor in Public High Schools

A new law in Colorado aims to address one of the greatest challenges to recruiting skilled labor: dispelling the myth that all successful career paths require a college education.

The Denver Post reported this week on the implementation of House Bill 1041, which requires public schools to inform high school students about opportunities in trade schools and military service, and what they need to do follow these equally rewarding career paths.

“The law will help reintroduce skilled trades to high school students, who can earn early apprenticeships and exposure to good-paying jobs right after graduation,” the article stated.

The Colorado Association of Home Builders (CAHB) agrees that this new law can help the industry overcome a key issue in the labor shortage dilemma.

“We believe that every little bit helps change the myth that everyone should rack up massive college debt instead of entering the world of construction trades and generating positive income and a rewarding career,” said Scott Smith, CEO of CAHB.

Skip Howes, president of Scott Homes Ltd. in Woodland, Colo., and chair of NAHB’s Public Affairs Committee, believes the law is an important step to help students understand the range of exciting opportunities in the housing industry.

“This new law will open doors for students who are not college-bound and who don’t want to become burdened with overwhelming student loan debt for a degree that is not providing them with viable, productive jobs,” Howes said. “When skilled training is tied to community college courses in business management and accounting, students can learn a trade and even become entrepreneurs in their own businesses.”

NAHB’s Skilled Workforce Development Resources provide members and HBAs with valuable tools to reach out to educators, parents and students, and begin the conversation about the in-demand career opportunities in the construction trades. For example, the sample lesson plans, internship guide, and state-specific salary data help building professionals engage with students as early as the middle school level.

Members can also share public resources with educators and industry partners at nahb.org/workforce.

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  1. This is fantastic (and very much needed nationally)! Great news

  2. Dave Sheppard, CAE says:

    This law is ridiculous. The next thing you know we will have the government telling us how to tie our shoes.

    What is needed is a continued dialogue with parents (the key audience) and school counselors. We have a lot more good material today to communicate the facts about the cost of a college education.

    Let’s get out there ant tell Moms and Dads and schools about what is happening in the real world.

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