Labor Shortage

The housing industry is critical to the American economy, and a skilled and capable workforce that is adequate to meet demand is vital to the nation’s home builders. NAHB supports workforce development through its affiliate, HBI, and student chapters that encourage young people to pursue careers in home building.

Equally important are effective reforms to the immigration system, because the immigrant workforce plays a critical role in meeting the nation’s housing needs. Foreign-born workers accounted for almost 23% of the home building work force in 2014, according to the Department of Labor.

Workforce Development. NAHB strives to promote positive working relationships between state and local HBAs and career and technical education institutions to promote and advance careers in the home building industry.

HBI is a national leader for career training in the home building industry. HBI training programs are taught in local communities across the country to youth, veterans, displaced workers and other underserved populations.

NAHB also supports and advocates for local, state and federal funds used to support industry-sponsored and validated programs that have been proven to be successful: the Job Corps and PACT programs are cost-effective means of providing training and employment opportunities to individuals who are unable to compete in the labor market and of supplying the construction industry with a source of well-trained and motivated workers.

In addition, NAHB has a vibrant, healthy student chapters program for both high school and college-age youth, sponsors the NAHB Student Competition at the International Builders’ Show, and looks for opportunities to showcase home building careers by providing resources to help our HBAs enlarge their local pools of talent.

Immigration Reform. NAHB supports immigration reform that protects the nation’s borders. In addition, it must:

  • Ensure that employers continue to be responsible only for verifying the identity and work authorization of their direct employees – and not the employees of their subcontractors.
  • Create an efficient temporary construction industry guest-worker program that allows employers to recruit legal immigrant workers when there is a shortage of domestic workers.

Why It Matters

Ensuring a consistent, reliable influx of new workers is important in an industry that is continuing to grow. Even as we encourage America’s youth to consider careers in the building trades, we must also pursue immigration policies that complement ongoing vocational training efforts and help fill labor gaps to ensure that the nation has a workforce that can meet its housing construction needs.

See the latest on workforce development and immigration reform on NAHBNow.