During my recent travels, I've had the opportunity to lead
several focus group discussions with (mostly) NRCA members, asking them to share what
they think are the biggest issues facing the industry and the
things that keep them awake at night.
Invariably—and almost unanimously—one of the first
responses is the workforce. And the issues are plain: The industry
needs to do a better job of recruiting, training and retaining its
workers for all types of roofing contractors and at all levels of
the companies they represent.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the construction
industry will need to add 200,000 net jobs during the next decade.
The obvious question is: Where will these folks come from? We have
not succeeded in recent years at attracting the 18 to 22 year olds
who used to form the core of the industry's workforce. They're
being counseled to go to college even though one-third of them
won't graduate. And with U.S. immigration policy in disarray,
finding workers outside the U.S. has become increasingly difficult.
We no longer have a readily available labor force.
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