NAHB members across the Federation are taking action to help address the chronic labor shortages facing the industry. In the latest episode of NAHB’s podcast, Housing Developments, CEO Jerry Howard and Chief Lobbyist Jim Tobin talk with Associate member Mollie Elkman, president and owner of Group Two in Philadelphia, about her children’s book, The House That SHE Built — NAHB’s newest, fastest-selling book created to attract a more diverse workforce to the residential construction industry.
Throughout her career, Elkman formed friendships with people who proved that not only are jobs genderless, but everyone benefits from a workforce that embraces diversity and inclusion. It was through her network that Elkman discovered an exciting and ambitious project helmed by the Utah chapter of the Professional Women in Building (PWB) Council that had the potential to inspire others to join the industry. As the marketer for The House That SHE Built — an all-woman-built home in Utah — Elkman had the opportunity to see not only an exceptional build come together, but also the stories of inspiring women that came with it.
“They did it. That really is what inspired showing this story was that women really can do these jobs and making sure that we are sharing the stories of women who have successful careers in construction so that all children know that this is a path for anyone,” Elkman shared with Howard and Tobin.
These stories are part of a children’s book with the same name as the project that inspired it. The book — available now through NAHB’s Builder Books, and supported by 84 Lumber and Andersen Windows & Doors — is categorized for grades kindergarten through third and designed to educate young readers about the people and the skills that go into building a new home. Elkman hopes that young readers everywhere — and their families — will feel inspired, too.
“We have a compelling story to tell, and it’s compelling to others who are outside of the housing industry,” Elkman stated. “I can’t even tell you how many parents have said to me, ‘I never knew all of the things that go into building a home.’ So it’s not just children who are reacting to this. It is the parents. It is the teachers.”
“This is an incredible one-of-a-kind book for educating children and parents about the trades,” said Maggie Hardy Knox, president and owner of 84 Lumber. “Sharing stories of successful women and careers in construction is important. As a woman-owned company, it’s rewarding for 84 Lumber to participate in this project.”
“Throughout our history, women have played a pivotal role in shaping our company and the building industry,” said Annie Zipfel, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Andersen Corporation. “We are delighted to share this story of women in construction to inspire the next generation of young women to pursue rewarding careers in the trades.”
NAHB’s membership network comprises valuable skillsets and opportunities to help the residential construction industry continue to grow. Resources for and information on workforce development can found on nahb.org.
For more information on Associate Member Appreciation Month and how you can recognize standout Associate members, visit nahb.org.