The National Housing Endowment’s Skilled Labor Fund has awarded funding to 59 home builder associations (HBAs) across the United States. The Career Connections grant program is designed to support local events introducing young people to career opportunities in the residential skilled trades.
“This grant program from the Skilled Labor Fund helps us address one of the top issues builders across Iowa face as they work to build more homes,” said Jay Iverson, executive officer of the Home Builders Association of Iowa. “We have great local partners that we can leverage with this national support.”
Local associations partner with schools and community organizations to reach students and other groups of career seekers, such as veterans. In addition to learning about the individual trades, events present income potential and opportunities for entrepreneurs. Through these events, an estimated 30,000 students will learn about the skilled trades required to build homes, meet industry professionals, and experience hands-on demonstrations with the tools and materials used in construction.
“Before we can train future home builders, we first have to make them aware of the great career opportunities available in all the residential skilled trades,” said Ted Mahoney, a member of the Skilled Labor Fund Operating Committee.
There were 380,000 openings in the construction sector in January, up from 299,000 one year ago, according to NAHB Economics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that hourly earnings for residential building workers increased 7% from November 2020 to November 2021.
“The Endowment is proud to be the national leader helping to close the gap in housing’s demand for skilled workers and supply,” said Al Scott, chair of the National Housing Endowment. “Students, parents and faculty are increasingly open to career futures that do not require a four-year college degree and the related expense. These events make that individual connection to home building as a profession.”
The Career Connections grant program is now in its third year of funding career events. “We are pleased to see an upswing in demand from local associations for funding,” noted Mark Pursell, CEO of the Endowment and manager of the Skilled Labor Fund. “I think the lag from the COVID pandemic and greater awareness of construction as a personal future will make this year our best yet in terms of events and the number of participants.”
The Skilled Labor Fund, managed by the National Housing Endowment, is a partnership of NAHB, the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), SGC Horizon and Ammunition.