The shortage of skilled workers is a growing crisis for the US economy. According to data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 65 percent of builders surveyed in December 2020 said they faced an issue with the cost/availability of labor, and 71 percent of builders said they expect to face a problem with the cost/availability of labor in 2021. Furthermore, there is a lack of women representing the industry. Currently, less than 3 percent of the onsite workforce in housing are women.
BuilderBooks, the publishing arm of NAHB, is releasing a new children’s book, The House That She Built, on Sept. 14, 2021, which aims to help bridge the gap of the skilled labor shortage by educating and exposing children to STEAM and construction careers and elevating women in the industry. The book is inspired by the team of real women who came together from around the country to build a one-of-a-kind home in Utah: The House That SHE Built.
“We have a skilled labor crisis right now, and it’s great to see a book that proactively educates children and their parents about how the home building industry can be a wonderful career path,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke, a custom home builder from Tampa, Fla.
Young readers will learn about 18 different and inspiring STEAM and construction careers through the tradeswomen who contribute their individual skills to complete the collective project—a new home. The House That She Built will leave all kids excited about their skills and interested in learning new ones. Exposure to the trades at a young age helps facilitate conversation before career-based bias can form.
The House That She Built is only the beginning of inspiring diversity and inclusion for future generations of the skilled workforce for the housing industry. With this book, there is the opportunity to demonstrate the impact that women can have on housing and develop the programs and education to make it happen. Industry leaders 84 Lumber and Andersen Corporation are sponsors of the book and support its mission to further workforce development initiatives in home building by generating awareness of the skilled trades to underrepresented communities.
“This is an incredible one-of-a-kind book for educating children and parents about the trades,” said Maggie Hardy Knox, president and owner of 84 Lumber. “Sharing stories of successful women and careers in construction is important. As a woman-owned company, it’s rewarding for 84 Lumber to participate in this project.”
“Throughout our history, women have played a pivotal role in shaping our company and the building industry,” said Annie Zipfel, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Andersen Corporation. “We are delighted to share this story of women in construction to inspire the next generation of young women to pursue rewarding careers in the trades.”
Mollie Elkman (author) and Georgia Castellano (illustrator) work together at Group Two, a leading new home marketing company for home builders. Their goal for the book is to cultivate curiosity about skill development and careers in construction by empowering discussion at the age where self-esteem and identity are being formed.
Proceeds from the book will support skilled workforce development and diversity and inclusion in the construction industry. The House That She Built is a 10 x 10 hardcover picture book with dust jacket/36 pages, $17.95 retail, ISBN 978-0-86718-7854. The book is distributed by IPG and is available by visiting www.shebuiltbook.com.
[Editor’s Note: Members of the press who are interested in receiving a complimentary copy of The House That She Built to review for their publication/show or would like to schedule an interview with the author should contact Patricia Potts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-266-8224].