HBA ‘Draft’ Boosts Local Workforce

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construction demos

This post has been updated.

What would happen if the home building industry recruited talent like the National Football League draft? This idea led to Idaho State University, Home Depot in Pocatello, Idaho and South Eastern Idaho BA to develop the first annual Construction Combine.

The two-day training and recruiting event allows participants (ages 16 and up) to learn and then demonstrate various construction skills. Day one of the event featured training stations for the participants to learn skills such as framing, concrete, electrical and finishing.

On the second day, the participants built sheds to show what they learned. Then, select participants were “drafted” for a job by the contractors who were invited to interact and observe them.

“We put in a lot of work…it was really fun, and I learned a lot of new things. The people were super nice to work with. We had a really great time,” said participant Madison Campbell.

The event is an example of industry sponsors (Home Depot), local employers (builders and contractors) and educational institutions working together to address the workforce challenge in Idaho.

The completed sheds were donated by Home Depot to veterans in the local community. Home Depot sponsored the materials and builders donated their time to work with high school and college students.

This year, across the state, Construction Combine organizers trained 228 participants, built 41 sheds and extended nearly 50 job offers, a 400 percent average increase from 2018 to 2019 through statewide combined efforts. Plans are underway to organize events in 2020 at the HBA of Magic Valley, North Idaho Building Contractors Association of SE Idaho, Eastern and Eastern Idaho BA. Together these Idaho HBAs have made a significant impact in training and developing the building industry workforce.

“The success of this project is not due to one person, it is a team success,” said Scott Stephens of Idaho State University.

Watch highlights from the event and read local news coverage.

To share your workforce development success stories, contact Greg Zick at 202-266-8493.

Comments (1)

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  1. Michelle Sepela says:

    Excellent idea. Kudos to Home Depot! I hope this trend moves east to Pennsylvania. Working for a General Contractor, it’s nearly impossible to find skilled workers. More emphasis needs to be placed on a blue collar education. A college degree is all well and good, but remember, someone had to build that nice office building that we white collars are working in.

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