Challenges We Faced in 2021: Skilled Labor Shortage

Workforce Development
Contact: Greg Zick
(202) 266-8493

A skilled and capable workforce is vital to meeting our nation’s housing demands and addressing the skilled labor shortage was one of NAHB’s top priorities this year.

A survey for the October NAHB/Well Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) revealed that more than half (55%) of single-family builders reported a shortage of labor across 16 home-building trades. And according to the Home Builders Institute’s (HBI’s) Construction Labor Market Report the lack of skilled construction labor is a key limiting factor for improving housing inventory and affordability.

Lawmakers have taken notice and are poised to act. A working draft of the Build Back Better plan includes funding investments for career technical education as well as funding for JobCorps and Youthbuild. NAHB supports efforts to provide additional funding for these programs because such support will help provide good jobs for new workers and help address labor shortages in various industries including residential construction.

NAHB members and council leaders hosted a wide range of high-energy, hands-on programming in 2021 to inspire the next generation of residential construction industry professionals. Members of the NAHB Professional Women in Building (PWB) Council hosted summer camps filled with construction activities and participated in numerous Build My Future events. Consistent outreach by industry members across the country is making an impact, as the number of women in the industry edges higher.

State and local home builders associations made significant inroads with schools and strengthened their relationships with workforce development partners this year. For example, members from the Dallas BA began guest lecturing at the local community college and The Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities provided scholarships to help students buy tools and clothes for a new job. The Madison Area Builders Association (MABA) partnered with their local Boys and Girls Club and participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new world-class skilled trades center expected to reach nearly 3,000 students.

Throughout 2021, NAHB’s workforce development team provided resources and facilitated discussions in-person and online to connect members to the information they need to attract interest in the skilled trades. This year, updated state-specific salary data was made available for HBAs and members to promote the value of pursuing a skilled trades career in their local areas. A variety of new promotional materials were also added to NAHB’s Careers in Construction Toolkit such as brochures, flyers, social media images and event ideas.

Looking ahead to 2022, a myriad of programming and workforce development networking opportunities will be available during the 2022 NAHB International Builders’ Show®, Feb. 8-10 in person in Orlando. NAHB will continue to address the industry’s labor shortage in full force next year by working with members, HBAs, HBI and other partners.

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