As I was saying …

Finding our next generation of leaders

For the past two years, NRCA—thanks to funding provided by The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress—has been establishing relationships with schools of construction management to achieve two objectives: to make sure the students get more, and better, information about roofing and create awareness of career opportunities in the roofing industry.

Regarding the first objective, we've already learned there is great interest among faculty members to learn more about our industry and pass along that knowledge. Roof systems now have a lot to do with sustainability, and sustainability is on the minds of construction management professors everywhere.

Regarding the second objective, we have learned a lot about the prospects for attracting college graduates into the roofing industry. For example:

  • Virtually all construction management school graduates have at least two viable job offers.
  • About two-thirds of students are hired by companies for whom they interned. And some construction management schools require students to serve as interns before graduation.
  • Many students are unaware of career opportunities in the specialty trades, such as roofing.
  • Even with a lack of understanding, there is competition from other industries, such as electrical, mechanical and sheet metal.
  • Construction management schools, with virtually 100 percent job placement for graduates, have trouble attracting high school students to their programs.

In short, we have our work cut out for us. NRCA's next steps include involving faculty members in the development of a model internship program so interested employers in the roofing industry can administer them properly. We also will offer more student scholarships and conduct another student competition during the 2016 International Roofing Expo® in February in Orlando, Fla.