High-Energy Competition Fosters New Trades Talent

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

groups of members from ohio

L to R: Adam Brickner, Stuart Cowan, Tony Crasi and Matthew Cowan

students learning about hba at booth
Ohio HBA's Vince Squillace and Mardy Patel talk to students about the association.
photo collage of carpentry students

Students in Ohio and Nebraska recently showed off their construction capabilities during the SkillsUSA state competitions. NAHB’s Senior Officers and members were on hand to support the event and serve as role models for students interested in joining the residential construction industry.

“I think the reason builders have such a great connection with SkillsUSA is we both have always had the same goal in mind, which is to continue the great legacy of providing safe, affordable housing for all families,” said J. Stuart Cowan II, a custom designer and builder, based in Ohio.

Cowan played a central role in shaping the SkillsUSA Ohio carpentry contest from start to finish. He provided the blueprints for the carpentry students to follow during the competition. In addition, he worked closely with the Ohio HBA to facilitate the donation of materials and prize money.

Six NAHB builder members in Ohio, NAHB’s Second Vice Chairman of the Board, Bill Owens and Greg Zick, NAHB's AVP of Workforce Development attended the SkillsUSA Ohio competition this month. Members monitored the students closely to ensure safety standards were met and served as competition judges.

Cowen says the active support of residential construction industry members and leaders is critical to the SkillsUSA competition's success.

"I think everyone teaches our kids, employees…I believe it would be a waste for if we didn't take that knowledge and pass it on," said Cowen. "I was very fortunate to have a father who taught me a lot about being a carpenter. I was also very fortunate when I joined the HBA of Greater Cincinnati to have friends and mentors who taught me so much about building a successful business."

NAHB Chairman Carl Harris traveled to Nebraska to join NAHB members in supporting the state competition.

SkillsUSA, a national education non-profit focused on workforce development, is one of several national partnerships NAHB has cultivated to help close the skilled labor gap and create a workforce that is essential to meet the strong demand for housing. 

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