HBAs Bring Workers Home

Filed in Workforce Development by on January 25, 2017 0 Comments

With the housing industry facing a major shortage of trade workers, HBAs across the nation are taking steps to increase the trained labor pool and to get students excited about careers in the construction field.

The Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs and the Associated General Contractors (AGC) in 2015 launched a Careers in Construction program to bring vocational education back to local high schools.

The HBA and AGC solicited support from the El Paso County Commissioners, the city of Colorado Springs and collaborated with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department to evaluate various funding options. The groups also worked with HBI to obtain and license the curriculum to be taught at the schools.

The response from local officials was overwhelming.

To get the program from conception into local schools, a “Building Futures” fund was created. The industry self-assessment is based on new construction, roofing, commercial construction and remodel permits. Professionals opt in to the program when applying for a building permit, with voluntary contributions ranging from $6 to $50 depending on the permit type. Industry suppliers donated materials.

Meanwhile, HBI tailored pre-apprenticeship programs to high school students and participating schools received a $10,000 to $12,000 annual subsidy to help cover the cost of the instructors’ salaries.

The average financial commitment to each school is about $30,000 per year. The first classes commenced in September 2015 with 30 students and the program has now grown to 345 participating students as of January 2017.

Learn more at www.cshba.com/careers-in-construction.

Another innovative initiative, Michigan CareerQuest, offers West Michigan youth a chance to explore hundreds of occupations in high-demand industries, including residential construction.

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and HBA of Greater Grand Rapids partnered to hold an annual CareerQuest in four areas – health services, information technology, advanced manufacturing and construction. The event attracts students from a seven-county region roughly the size of Rhode Island.

In 2015, the event drew just over 5,000 students and this year nearly 9,700 have already registered.

“The event gets students to experience a broad spectrum of career pathways,” said Jen Schottke, director of workforce development at ABC for Michigan CareerQuest.

Go to NAHB’s workforce development toolkit to get more ideas for addressing labor shortages in your market.




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