October is Careers in Construction Month. With increased labor shortages and the future of our industry at stake, it is a perfect time for you to get involved in the investment of YOUR potential. The home building industry is just like the structures we build – neither can survive without setting the proper foundation. Fortunately, there is a wealth of programs across the state that are making a difference. But that doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax. Here are the top ten ways you can help.

10 – Be Part of the Review Team for the Endorsed Trade Program

PBA has worked hard to develop the Endorsed Trade Program (ETP). This program is designed to create a network among PBA members, school construction programs, local student chapters, and the local community to provide training and confidence to launch students into fulfilling careers.

Programs at the various schools are initially and then periodically evaluated to ensure that the fundamentals satisfy the objectives of the established Endorsed Trade Program standards. These evaluations are conducted by peer educators, administrators, and local industry representatives from supporting HBAs.

This is where you come in. The ETP is always in need of review team members. Besides making sure that the school’s program meets the required goals, the process provides local professionals with the insight to make suggestions or to see first-hand how their future workers are being trained.

9 – Become an End of Program NOCTI Testing Proctor

The National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) was established as a third-party organization tasked at developing occupational testing evaluations to help prepare America’s workforce. The PBA ETP has joined forces with NOCTI to make certain graduating students have gained the skills and experience necessary to succeed.

NOCTI is always looking for those who are knowledgeable about the programs security processes and procedures to facilitate the multi-choice testing sessions. Instructors themselves are prohibited from administering these tests, so building up a resource of proctors is imperative.

8 – Serve on the School Occupational Advisory Committee (OAC) or Local Advisory Committee (LAC)

The main purpose of an OAC or LAC is to strengthen the career and technical education program by making recommendations for program improvement and providing technical assistance to
assure the most up-to-date curriculum content and appropriate applications of technology.

Advisory committees serve an advisory capacity only. They do not have administrative or governing authority. Nevertheless, their work is important to the effective operation of the career and technical education program. Career and technical education programs that have a close association and function in cooperation with an advisory committee are usually more successful than those who do not have such an association.

Member may provide valuable services in areas, such as student recruitment and placement, curriculum development, facilities and equipment, staff development, public relations, community needs, legislative and financial support, and career and technical student organization (CTSO) support.

Committee members are usually appointed by the local board of education.

7 – Help Schools Organize and Participate in College and Career Readiness Events

Teaching skills is one thing. But making sure that students are ready for the field or further training is a vital point.

Once the individual has decided whether they are going to immediately enter the workforce or continue their education, there is a need to make sure they are prepared for what is ahead of them. Just because they can do the work doesn’t mean that they totally understand what is going to it is really like to hold down a job. On the other hand, if they are going to advance their training, they might not have an understanding of what options are available.

PBA members can work together with the Career and Technical Centers to guide students. Local home builder associations or individuals can help set up career fairs and bring in companies to provide on the spot interviews or information about what employers may be looking for. This can also be accomplished by volunteering to be a speaker to a group of interested students. Tell them what being in the field is really like. Explain the challenges that you face in your business every day. Answer their questions and share your experiences.

Moving on to advanced programs can also be something confusing or even daunting for a young person. Help them bridge that gap by introducing them to those schools and programs that you are familiar with. Contact administrators and instructors to help arrange meetings so that they can better understand what is ahead.

6 – Be an Advisor/Sponsor to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Student Chapter

In order to be part of the Endorsed Trade Program, schools and career centers must be part of an NAHB Student Chapter. In Pennsylvania, we are fortunate in that nearly all of the local home builder associations are involved or sponsor with their local CTC.

That involvement may be in the form of providing financial or hands-on training or expertise. As part of a sponsorship, members can visit classrooms frequently to have meaningful conversations with students and reinforce the importance of the training and the rewards it can provide.

Connect with your local HBA executive officer to see what your local is doing with the CTC and how you can get involved.

5 – Participate in the SkillsUSA Events as a Competition Judge

The SkillsUSA Championships are career competition events showcasing the best career and technical education students in the nation. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels.

Judges are always needed – and welcomed – to help determine winners starting at the local/state level and then through the advanced competitions.

For more information on how you can volunteer plus a list of competitions, check out the SkillsUSA website at www.skillsusa.org.

4 – Be a Guest Speaker

Everyone knows the value of learning directly from someone who has “been there, done that” right? While the students are perfecting their skills, they are always eager to hear from those in the industry. You can be the voice to provide that exact resource.

Work with your local HBA to coordinate a time for you and some fellow professionals to speak to a group of students. Don’t hold back, let them know about the work you have done, the training that is needed, and exactly what you are looking for in a worker. Explain what your days are like. Tell them how they can get a jump on a rewarding career. This is the information that could be the key in making them work harder and better.

A little time in the classroom is a terrific investment in the future of your business.

3 – Donate to the Pennsylvania Foundation for Housing to Support the ETP

As they say, money makes the world go round. It’s no different in being able to provide qualified training for students.

The sole purpose of the Pennsylvania Foundation for Housing Foundation is to provide support for the advancement of training related to the home building industry. Donations are used for program costs and scholarships/grants that are presented annually on behalf of the program and the local HBA. These tax-deductible contributions are desperately needed to help PBA continue the Endorsed Trade Program. Your support now and in the future can make all the difference.

You can be a permanent part of the Foundation’s mission by making a contribution, beginning a legacy through planned giving, or by establishing a scholarship in your name. You would be giving back to your industry, making it stronger and sustaining its growth through education and practice.

For more information, please visit www.pabuilders.org/about/pa-foundation-for-housing/.

2 – Get Students Engaged in Local Builder Activities

Once they have learned how to use the tools provided to them, students are very anxious to get into the field and put those skills to good use. This is a chance for you to provide that experience and perhaps get a little help on some projects.

Whether you are building for Habitat for Humanity, planning a local home and garden show, using your expertise for a fundraiser, or even holding a regular HBA meeting, be sure to invite students form you local CTC along and treat them as your team. Let them do the work and guide them along throughout the process. The extra hands will go a long way and your time and direction will go even longer.

No matter what you are planning, don’t forget to make these young “apprentices” a part of it.

1 – Hire Students From These Programs

After all the time, money, and patience you have spent on supporting the Endorsed Trade Program and the local Career and Technical Center, the very best thing you can do to give your support is to hire the students.

You have seen the training that goes into the programs as well as the results that it provides, so you know these are qualified individuals who are looking for a chance to start their careers. It’s a trained workforce that is ready on DAY ONE.

PBA members should take advantage of this investment and hire these workers before they end up leaving the state or even the profession.

Hiring is a WIN-WIN for everyone!

For more information on the Endorsed Trade Program or how you can get involved, visit www.pabuilders.org/about/endorsed-trade-program/ or contact David DiPasquale, Endorsed Trade Program Director at ddipasquale@pabuilders.org.