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Building the Case for Keeping Craft Alive

Certainteed- Keeping Craft Alive
February 6, 2019 at 4:18 p.m.

By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.

Saving our trades needs to be a top priority for everyone in the industry.

We’ve heard it over and over. It’s one of the biggest issues facing our industry. Most of you are experiencing first-hand the challenge of finding labor.  RCS Partner, CertainTeed has initiated a campaign called ‘Keep Craft Alive’ to try to raise awareness and encourage more of our nation’s youth to consider the trades as a viable career.

The company is partnering with Fine Homebuilding and Skills USA to help rebuild the skilled labor force. Is the situation really that dire? Their research suggests that it is. In this infographic, CertainTeed provides a glimpse at the numbers. Perhaps the most startling one is that a best estimate shows that 10 million skilled workers will be needed by 2020. That’s only one year away!

How did we get where we are today?

What happened to stop our youth from entering the trades? Here are some of the reasons provided by CertainTeed through their research:

  1. Fewer are choosing the trades with many youths opting for college even though it might not be the best choice for them. Statistics show that 30 percent of students at four-year public universities have not earned their degree after six years.
  2. Many left the trades during the Great Recession of 2008. The construction industry lost 3 million jobs during the recession and many have not returned.
  3. Trade careers have a bad reputation. Many students are taught to think of trade school as Plan B. Only six percent of high school students are considering a job in the trades.

Why is the effort to save the trades so important?

As CertainTeed stated, “You need a place to live!” The U.S. is experiencing a housing shortage that is compounded by the labor shortage. It’s estimated that 700,000 workers have left the building industry since 2006. With 158,000 unfilled construction jobs in the U.S. there is no one that can help our country’s aging infrastructure.

Working together to address the issue.

CertainTeed reports that government, business and industry have all come together, seeking a solution. Some states, including California, Iowa, Washington, Tennessee and Michigan are committing hundreds of millions to promote and advance technical education. Partners across the industry and the supply chain are pledging support, raising awareness and generating solutions.

Beyond working with the industry partners, CertainTeed invest significant effort into helping those already in the trades be successful. The company has trained 50,000 contractors over the past five years and delivered 10,000 leads to contractor just this past year.

Wondering how you can help?

If you are in the trade and you love your job, share your story! This will contribute to fixing the perception that working in the trades is not a respectable career where you can earn a nice living. CertainTeed has started an effort to gather and share stories.

Parents and students can give the trades a second look – it might not be for everyone but youth with the right skills will find success. Distributors and manufacturers should support programs like SkillsUSA and YouthBuild.

To share your story and learn more about the movement to preserve the trades, visit CertainTeed.com/KeepCraftAlive.


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