Local Outreach Key to Addressing Labor Shortage

Workforce Development
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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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