The Skilled Labor Fund along with partners the National Housing Endowment, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), the National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI) and SGC Horizon, held a press conference to share ongoing initiatives to address labor shortage challenges in the residential construction industry at Design & Construction Week, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.
Designed to address the lack of skilled labor entering the residential construction industry, the Skilled Labor Fund and select operating committee members spoke to the press about the root causes, current and ongoing challenges and the Skilled Labor Fund’s main priority: to support training and job placement through fundraising efforts.
“Our primary goals are to greatly expand the current number of high schools offering training in the trades and to financially support career fairs that bring together prospective works with trade industry professionals,” said Mark Pursell, CEO of the National Housing Endowment that serves as the administrator of the fund.
Since 2016, the Skilled Labor Fund has implemented the Home Builders Institute Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) program offering classroom and hands-on training in the construction trades. “We have funded 15 schools to date through the Home Building Institute’s two-year post-high school program, and they are all at full capacity. We would like to add up to 40 more schools across the nation by 2020,” said Pursell.
“The current labor force is aging, and it’s the right time to change the narrative at the high school level,” said David Pekel, CEO of NARI. “We’d like to work with the school systems so that kids understand what their options are — be it the four-year college track or trade school. The latter generally allows graduates to hit the ground running after finishing their respective programs.”
Throughout the week, the associations hosted events to raise funds to support awareness of the ongoing challenges the shortage presents to the industry and professions in residential construction. In addition, the Skilled Labor Fund held an event at the Professional Builder Show Village Silver Lot just outside the main convention center doors on Wednesday, Feb. 20. One hundred percent of the $50 ticket price went toward the next generation of skilled labor workforce, and a total of $20,000 was raised for the Skilled Labor Fund. To give to the fund, please visit the Skilled Labor Fund donation page.