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 March issue of the magazine, 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 recent report 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 a new website devoted to the subject.