Construction is a large part of our growing economy, but without a full labor force, building has been constrained, forcing housing costs up. According to the National Association of Home Builders, four out of five builders have reported a serious shortage in skilled workers.
As many have experienced firsthand, the demand for home improvement services is also on the rise, according to the Remodeling in the US report from IBISworld. This means plenty of homeowners are calling contractors for estimates, but all of the new projects can make it tough to find the qualified workers.
Building the Future – Together
An important part of CertainTeed’s mission is to provide support and training to the building and remodeling industry. To further that mission, we are proud to partner again this year with #KeepCraftAlive and Skills USA, donating $20,000 in scholarships to honor and support students interested in pursuing a trade.
What initially began as a social media hashtag to showcase pride in construction craft, #KeepCraftAlive was started by Fine Homebuilding magazine and has grown into an industry leadership program, forging partnerships with industry organizations and influencers to build awareness of the skilled labor shortage , provide training and fund student scholarships.
This year, through #KeepCraftAlive, Fine Homebuilding raised $70,000 to fund scholarships for SkillsUSA students in construction-related fields for the 2018-2019 academic year, an increase from the $25,000 awarded last year. This dramatic increase is due in part to the positive impact of industry leaders and strong focus on closing the “skills gap,” a term used to signify that as the housing industry grows there is an inverse reduction of trained, qualified labor.
It’s Not All About the Benjamins
CertainTeed is doing more than writing a check. In fact, CertainTeed roofing, siding and insulation installation experts have trained over 50,000 contractors in the past five years through credentialed programs, including the 5-Star Contractor credential for siding and fence and the Master Craftsman program for decking and railing products.
Hundreds of mobile training sessions at distributor or dealer partner locations across the U.S. were conducted through the CertainTeed Build-it Tour™, a specially equipped trailer that brings product and installation instruction right to the customer’s doorstep.
And even more professionals have been trained via online and self-study courses.
We’ve been providing expert installation and business training for our contractor and builder partners for many years. But the last few we understand have been especially trying due to the lack of job applicants. On the one hand, you have this unprecedented housing and remodeling demand across the country, but then your predicament is finding the qualified labor to meet that demand.
Last year, the Siding group introduced the Business Building Workshops, bringing a day of free seminars to locations in Connecticut and New Jersey. Contractors, builders, distributors and architects came out to learn how CertainTeed can help grow their businesses, through new product knowledge, sales and marketing best practices, installation, best use of digital estimating tools and more. In 2018, more than 500 came out for the Atlantic City and Washington, D.C. sessions.
CertainTeed is also involved with parent company Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation’s partnership with YouthBuild USA, donating products and specialized training. This initiative allows our volunteers to help low-income young people learn construction skills, which enables them to help build affordable housing and other community assets such as community centers and schools. Many who left high school without a diploma use YouthBuild as an opportunity to reclaim their educations and gain the skills they need for employment.
Going forward, more opportunities to help will be explored through local and national partnerships.
We see and feel the frustration in our industry of not having enough workers, and we will continue to be involved in any way we can to help our partners meet business goals and retain a qualified team.
We’re all in this together.
Share Your Story
CertainTeed is also publishing the stories of the tradesmen and women already out in the skilled labor force working hard every day. You can read their profiles by visiting the Keep Craft Alive section of the blog.
Interested in having your story and company featured? Please visit My Story and let us know how you got started.
For more information on how we support those in the trades and what you can do to help, check out our Keep Craft Alive initiatives.
Matt Gibson is Vice President of CertainTeed Corporate Marketing and former Director, Vinyl and Marketing Communications for CertainTeed Siding.