The home building industry is currently in a crisis. There is a massive shortage of labor.
The NAHB found shortages of some construction trades are at their worst level since 2000. They found more than 70 percent of builders reported difficulty in hiring carpenters, 63 percent had trouble in attracting masons and more than half experienced challenges in finding roofers, plumbers, painters, and electricians.
The labor shortage has been further exacerbated by Hurricane Harvey which threw somewhere over 100,000 homes into the remodel pool along with other damaged business structures.
The trades mainly affected include drywall, paint, trim, and cabinets. The current administration’s policy of restricted borders and animosity toward the nationalities who are most helpful in getting homes built in Houston, have further caused restriction in the labor supply.
With this in mind, a large part of my mission this year is to help expand the Associate Council’s GHBA Scholarship Program, and with the board’s agreement, focus the scholarships within our own industry, whether it’s on the labor side or management. I can’t think of a more relevant time when the greatest threat to homebuilding is the labor needed to build our homes.
The GHBA Scholarship Program can offer a gateway to career development for qualified candidates who will be trained in a broad range of skill sets and crafts.
Fields of study can include trade schools for HVAC, plumbing, and residential electricians. Other areas include construction science, engineering—both civil and structural, marketing, business, architecture, design, management and more. It would also be a way to award scholarships to applicants who have a need for funds and would otherwise not be able to attend schools to advance their education.
Generally, these scholarships are made possible by donations from generous GHBA members. The amounts for scholarships have already been expanded by the auction that was held at the Installation Celebration last month.
The GHBA is also working in partnership with the Jones Futures Academy.
JFA is part of the Houston Independent School District offering Academy of Architecture & Construction Technology to district students. It is a dual enrollment model that enables students to fulfill high school graduation requirements while simultaneously earning industry certifications, college credits, and/or an Associate of Arts by the end of their senior year. The Academy of Architecture & Construction Technology prepares students for real-world career opportunities, and that’s where our industry fits within this model.
We have a number of members who have volunteered to “mentor” students by hosting them at their offices to see the administrative side of what we do and by taking them to job sites for a first-hand look at what home construction looks like.
This is an opportunity for us to help create awareness about our industry and to inspire students at a critical time as they begin to make career choices. Let’s help build critical resources that in the long run help us build houses!