October is Careers in Construction Month and a great opportunity to focus on the pipeline. Not the work of your plumbing contractor at your current worksite, but that’s not far off. The pipeline of skilled workers to the home building industry.
As when building a house, we need key raw materials, people and a plan to fill the painful gap in skilled labor.
One program taking flight in the Denver area is a great example of home builders, educators, businesses and student chapters coming together to make sure recent high school graduates and beyond are aware that they can make a great living building homes and enjoy a high quality education program to get them started.
The Colorado Homebuilding Academy offers an eight-week, hands-on training “bootcamp” in basic construction skills for adults who are ready to jumpstart their careers in the trades. Soon they’ll be offering a three-week basics in concrete construction and an intensive training for residential field superintendents.
The HBA of Metro Denver supports the academy in several ways. Not only are former HBA staff now on staff at the academy, but the academy also has representation on the HBA board.
Local builder Oakwood Homes provides the academy space in its facilities at no cost for lab-based, hands-on instruction, in addition to other sponsorship of the institute.
And the academy is working in partnership with the University of Denver to support newly formed high school student chapters that will be competing this year at the International Builders’ Show. The University of Denver hosts a student chapter of NAHB and is a National Housing Endowment HELP Grant winner to provide programs of study in residential construction.
“We sat down and we asked: How can we make a measurable change in the shortage of skilled trades that is plaguing the home building industry?” said academy director Michael Smith. “And through collective action among the stakeholders in our area, we’ve seen great results. We are really a collective partnership working together for the good of the industry as a whole.”
The Colorado Homebuilding Academy was created by industry experts working in collaboration with builders, universities, trade associations, foundations and schools. It seeks to transform home building career education by putting hands-on learning, classroom teaching and real-life experience all under one roof with a focus on job placement, mentoring and ongoing support for its students.
“There are jobs out there in plentiful number. It’s about connecting the dots in our area to inspire that high school student or recent graduate, or other aspiring professional, to say, ‘This is for me,'” said Smith.
Get more information and resources for building a skilled labor workforce on NAHB’s website.