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Tackling the Skilled Labor Shortage

Fine Homebuilding magazine joins efforts to bolster training and trade opportunities with a Keep Craft Alive campaign

Posted on Jan 27 2017 by Scott Gibson

Fine Homebuilding magazine has launched an effort to help reverse a decline in skilled labor, a trend that is threatening the construction industry and making it harder for homeowners to find qualified contractors.

Writing in the , FHB Editor Rob Yagid said that the Keep Craft Alive campaign would include partnerships with industry organizations to build awareness of skills training, funding for student scholarships, and a new magazine section celebrating the value of craftsmanship.

"Right now, a lot is happening in this industry, and not all of it is for the better," Yagid said. "Though the post-recession housing market is bouncing back, the construction workforce is not, and that’s posing significant challenges to anyone who works on or owns a home."

He cites a prepared by Marianne Cusato, a professor at Notre Dame's School of Architecture, who warned, "the United States is facing an unprecedented skilled labor shortage that comes with serious implications."

A variety of factors are to blame: the lack of formal apprenticeships in the U.S., a smaller pool of immigrant workers, and the steady decline of shop and technical classes in public schools.

"From the pace of building, to the cost of construction, to the prices of homes, to the quality of our housing infrastructure, the skills gap is having deep and far-reaching influence," Yagid wrote.

He encouraged readers to support the effort by using the #KeepCraftAlive hashtag in Instagram and Twitter posts, and included a link to devoted to the subject.

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  1. Fine Homebuilding

Jan 27, 2017 7:47 PM ET

Insurance, benefits
by Lucy Foxworth

One significant downside to most jobs in the construction field is the seasonality of the work, no insurance, and no benefits. That has to be addressed as well. It's a difficult problem.

Jan 30, 2017 10:27 AM ET

Residential construction for too long was considered one
by John Clark

of the pillars of the economy. IMO that thinking is incorrect. Housing is instead an indicator of the strength of the economy and the apparent skills shortage within the trades is simply part of that indicator.

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