Bruno Schickel, president of Schickel Construction based in Dryden, N.Y. and longtime member of NAHB, recently testified on his behalf before Congress on the acute labor shortage in the residential construction industry and the need to promote vocational career paths.
Noting that he is the first person in his family in many generations not to go to college, Schickel told lawmakers that “going to college is not the only way to get an education. I wanted to make things, I did not want to go to college.”
Schickel started his company in 1984 and has consistently employed 10 to 15 people throughout the past 39 years, but he said the construction labor shortage is “nothing short of a crisis” and it is affecting his business as well.
“I know that for my business we could easily increase volume by 20 to 30% if we had more workers,” he said. “The National Association of Home Builders estimates that we will be short 2.2 million workers in the next two years.”
Schickel told lawmakers that over the past 50 years, too much emphasis has been put on attending college, and too little on finding a rewarding career in a trade.
“Resources for vocational and technical training have declined,” he said. “Many public schools no longer offer shop class, preventing young people like the kid I was from having access to a very rewarding variety of careers. We need to restore balance. Let’s bring back shop class.”
To learn more about NAHB’s efforts to address the labor shortage, visit the Workforce Development section nahb.org.