The residential construction industry is in dire need of more skilled trades professionals to keep up with the nation’s housing demand. A recent NAHB economic analysis revealed construction job openings surged in fall 2021.
To help create a robust pipeline of professionals, NAHB members and state and local home builders associations (HBAs) are partnering with educational institutions to develop programming aimed to inspire the next generation of skilled trade experts.
NAHB’s workforce development team has led a series of forums for members and HBAs to share best practices for partnering with schools. The following are just a few tips from the forum discussions about how to develop and maintain strong relationships with educational institutions.
Seek out Compatible Collaborators. Educational institutions are the best conduits to young people who are motivated to prepare themselves for their futures. Talk to school counselors, teachers and other leaders in the school system about what students can gain from learning about the jobs available in the residential construction industry and how they can learn valuable life skills. Your enthusiasm will translate into potential interest in workforce development programming.
Highlight Partnership Value. Schools have many obligations and might be reluctant to participate in programs. Take the time to learn about their priorities and share how skilled trade professionals contribute to the community, local workforce and the economy. Find out if your city, region or state has goals for expanding job training and align those goals with career exploration opportunities.
Share Ownership of Planning and Implementation. Provide specific guidance on how the educational institution can collaborate with you. Remain flexible and demonstrate a willingness to listen to their needs and ideas. It is important to reassure school leaders that the relationship is not one-sided and will ultimately benefit the students. Talk to teachers about the engaging career resources you can share to enhance student learning.
Celebrate and Evaluate Program Outcomes. No matter how big or small your workforce development program is, you’ll likely hit roadblocks along the way. Work together to overcome challenges and celebrate successes leading up to program implementation. Relationships with teachers and school staff shouldn’t end once the program is over. Follow up with school leaders for ideas on program improvements and discuss future opportunities to collaborate.
NAHB is deeply committed to finding solutions to the skilled labor shortage and has national partnerships with the Association of Career and Technical Education, Skills USA and many other organizations.
For more information on how to develop a workforce development partnership with your local school district or to share your success story contact, Greg Zick.