Washington Builders Tackle Skilled Trades Workforce Shortage

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

Building industry members in Washington State have rolled up their sleeves to dedicate considerable time and money to launch powerful programs and partnerships connecting students with jobs in the building industry.

“It will take teamwork and boots-on-the-ground effort to solve the labor shortage,” says Al Audette, Building Industry Association of Washington Education and Workforce Development Director. “Local home building associations in Washington State are doing just that by working closely with members and schools to engage the future workforce.”

Kitsap Building Association’s (KBA’s) Builder Grant Program (Bremerton, Wash.)

The Builder Grant Program provides internship opportunities in the construction industry after high school. The program connects workers ages 18 to 24 with local builders, remodelers and subcontractors for a six-week residential construction internship. The year-round program provides a $250 stipend to successful applicants for the tools and equipment they need to be job-ready. Workers then enter a six-week, paid job opportunity. If they complete the program, workers receive another $250 and a certificate of completion.

KBA reimburses member companies who mentor workers $5/hour in wages, up to $1,200, to help offset the cost of the paid job training. Upon completion of the program, companies may choose to hire the newly trained workers — and many do. KBA works closely with YouthBuild Kitsap and Kitsap Community Resources to identify applicants. YouthBuild Kitsap is a program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor that teaches construction trades to students who have dropped out academically.

Spokane Home Builders Association’s (SHBA’s) Frame Your Future Program

Frame Your Future (FYF) is a new, two-year program providing industry-driven curriculum and hands-on building experience to students at Innovation High School in Spokane. SHBA raised more than $200,000 from building industry partners to fund the program.

In May 2022, SHBA and FYF partnered with local schools to host a Construction Camp for more than 20 students. With the help of 15 SHBA member volunteers, they built two sheds in two days. FYF allows students to meet and work alongside some of Spokane’s leading construction professionals. These professionals can then provide career coaching and even hire students who are interested in the trades. FYF is creating a skilled worker pipeline for residential construction in Eastern Washington through its innovative training programs and collaboration with area schools and industry leaders.

In October, they received another $1 million in Federal American Rescue Plan Act funds from the Spokane County Board of Commissioners.

Master Builders Association of Pierce County and Pierce County Skills Center Partnership (PCSC) (Tacoma, Wash.)

Master Builders Pierce County donated $5,000 benefiting local students enrolled in the school’s construction trades program. PCSC offers career and technical education programs and serves ten school districts in Pierce County. Master Builders Pierce County and PCSC are jointly committed to people’s success in the building industry and establishing an educated workforce for the future of construction.

Master Builder Pierce members support PCSC’s construction trades curriculum by donating excess materials from jobsites for hands-on training. They also attend annual job fairs, provide scholarships to help students buy tools and supplies upon graduation and connect them to internship opportunities leading to full-time employment.

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