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Construction Labor Issues Command Media Spotlight

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Construction Labor Issues Command Media Spotlight

With many residential construction workers having left the industry in search of other work during the housing downturn, NAHB members are increasingly voicing concerns about the supply of workers in key trades such as carpentry, excavating, framing, roofing and others now that demand for new homes is ramping up in many markets. These concerns are immediately relevant to the ongoing debate in Congress over immigration reform, and have sparked media interest in part because residential construction stands out as one the few sectors where demand for new workers is rising. 

NAHB's leadership has been reaching out to key media sources to ensure that our members' views on the situation are faithfully reported and that policymakers understand that labor shortages are yet another hurdle for the fragile housing and economic recovery. This past week, NAHB Third Vice Chairman Ed Brady appeared briefly on ABC's  “Good Morning America” in a piece on labor markets that aired on April 6.

What NAHB Is Doing to Help

A member of the ImmigrationWorks USA business coalition, NAHB is active in policy negotiations to create a market-based visa program for low-skilled, non-agricultural workers. We are urging Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes strong border security measures as well as the creation of a guest worker program. NAHB also works to train more workers and leaders in the construction industry through HBI (formerly known as the Home Builders Institute), a national leader in career training and the association’s workforce development arm. HBI offers educational programs in 44 states and the District of Columbia, reaching more than 13,000 students each year.

These include more than 10,000 students in HBI's 202 pre-apprenticeship and mentoring programs and 3,000 students in 120 NAHB Student Chapters. In communities where HBAs sponsor NAHB Student Chapters, HBI can help home builders and remodelers find graduates of HBI programs who are job-ready. HBI’s Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (HBI PACT) programs offer youths, veterans, ex-offenders and displaced workers a chance to gain the skills and hands-on experience they need.

Those who graduate from the program enjoy an 80% job placement rate. HBI PACT can operate in any community nationwide with suitable resources in place. HBI also has developed national skill standards for trades-based education in the residential building sector, which have been incorporated into teacher-acclaimed textbooks and teaching resources under the Residential Construction Academy Series. These teaching materials are being used in high schools and two-year career technical education schools nationwide.

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Today's photos are those of Archival Designs' Latrobe.

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  • Joanne Loftus
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