HBI's Plan for Tackling the Labor Shortage in Construction

Workforce Development
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At the International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando last month, Ed Brady, president of the Home Builders Institute (HBI) — NAHB’s educational arm — led the call to action for solving the housing industry’s chronic skilled labor shortage.

At a press conference, Brady, 2021 NAHB chairman Chuck Fowke and NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz outlined the construction industry’s challenge of retaining, recruiting and replacing skilled carpenters, framers, electricians and plumbers (among other trades) to the tune of 2.2 million by 2025.

That tall order, based on recent research by Dietz and his team, factors in demand projections for new homes and buildings along with current job openings and other metrics, bringing the labor issue into sharper relief, if perhaps crisis mode.

“It is one of the greatest challenges right now in our industry,” said Fowke, a Florida custom builder. “And it's likely to get worse before it gets better.” HBI operates more than 400 programs in 47 states. Those programs graduate about 10,000 students per year, arming them with various trade skills. In addition, the institute also has 220 partner organizations, most recently adding the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Still, with the goal of filling 740,000 skilled labor jobs over the next three years, more work needs to be done.“ This is a call to action for the entire industry, because we’re in crisis,” Brady said. Pro Builder Media Editorial Director Rich Binsacca sat down with Ed Brady to probe deeper into how he thinks the industry can achieve its workforce goals. Read the full Q&A.

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