Local Outreach Key to Addressing Labor Shortage

Labor shortages are the most widespread challenge builders expect to face in 2019, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index analysis.

Finding the solutions to this ongoing concern was a topic of much discussion during the 2019 International Builders’ Show.

“A long-term solution to the workforce development problem is getting younger people into the profession,” said Ed Brady, CEO of Home Builders Institute, during an IBS workshop in the NAHB Professional Women in Building (PWB) headquarters moderated by Judy Dinelle, 2018 NAHB PWB Chair and Building Ambassador of 84 Lumber. Brady recommended that trade professions be reintroduced in schools as a viable career path. He noted that although national building industry campaigns are helpful in increasing public awareness about careers in construction, “the industry has to advocate for itself at the local level.”

Reaching out to local educators and parents can help steer interest in careers in construction, said Stacey Kolegraff, assistant professor at the Department of Construction Management at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Although women make up 50% of the U.S. population, they represent only 9% of construction workers. Kolegraff encouraged women in construction to be more visible in their communities to help eliminate the stigma that women do not belong in the industry.

Erin Brennan, industry relations manager of skills at Cengage, recommended partnering with local businesses and organizations such as the Boy and Girl Scouts to spread the word about careers available in construction.

NAHB offers a variety of workforce development resources to help HBAs and members promote residential construction careers in their local communities. For more information about PWB, contact Sheronda Carr.

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  1. William T Saxon says:

    I have a small LLC, Millennial Coaching, that is training Millennials to work with their hands. I employ only African Americans, giving them an opportunity otherwise would not be available. They have been taught to use a large variety of tools, what ethics are needed to maintain a job, job safety and job responsibility.
    Right now we have a PR problem. I have the workers and we need work.

  2. Joe Brown says:

    I’m Director of Construction With Habitat for Humanity You might try contacting your local affiliate to see if you can engage with them.

  3. Vickie Fastnacht says:

    Reach out to the local Homebuilders Association in your area to get the PR help you need to market your crew to the building industry.

  4. Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth Co. says:

    If you’re not a member of your local Homebuilders Ass. you should be ,Great contacts there.

  5. Scott Sedam says:

    I began writing about the coming labor crisis ten years ago. Even five years ago, hardly anyone was paying attention. I am an HBI Board of Trustees member and although there is tremendous work to do, there is some amazing progress in places like Denver, Colorado Springs, Omaha and Grand Rapids, among other locales. Parents are starting to wake up and be more supportive of trade and technical training. But the absolute key is local involvement, as described here. Five years ago I challenged the LBA — Leading Buildings of America — the Top 20+ U.S. Builders — to require every Division President in every market to show tangible, measurable involvement in local trade development efforts. That would be around 500 Division Presidents spread across more than 50 MSA’s. Imagine the impact?! They are finally putting up some real money as a group, and that helps, but again, personal, local involvement is what makes the difference. If you’d like to receive my collection, “Solving the Trade Shortage” email to info@truen.com and just put “Trade Shortage” in the subject line.

  6. Once again missing the point. You can’t get a generation born with and I Pad in one hand and an IPhone in the other interested in an industry that purposefully refuses to modernize itself using techniques that have been superseded in Europe and Japan over 50 years ago.

    It’s the builders that need an outreach to get them to realize that hat they need to change. The builders need to be educated in modern methods of construction

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