Category Archives: Skilled Trades

The Skilled Trades: A Direct Path to Success

Now that a huge number of millennials are buying homes, the US is experiencing housing shortages in many parts of the country. Part of the reason there are more home seekers than available homes is the skilled labor shortage. The skilled labor shortage doesn’t just impact home buyers and homeowners seeking needed remodeling for their current homes, it has an enormous impact on interior designers, builders, and remodelers. Due to an inability to find professionals in the skilled trades, many building and remodeling companies feel their growth has been slowed. Some companies could take on more projects, and serve clients faster, if they had plentiful skilled trades to employ. Many companies have to pick and choose which jobs will be the most profitable, leaving homeowners with smaller projects at a disadvantage.

Times Have Changed: A Generation Disinterested?

As contractors and business owners retire from the industry, there is often a lack of interest from the next generation to take over the family business. Younger generations were often brought up being told that a college degree was the only way to a successful career path. They often majored in industries that are increasingly less relevant or lucrative than the trades or oversaturated with qualified workers and not enough available positions.   

More and more, college graduates go through multiple career changes and relocations in search of an elusive sense of stability. With student loan debt crushing many millennials’ finances and optimism, career changes and frequent moves make it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Some people from the younger generations eventually find their way to the trades through a circuitous path. While it is wonderful how college graduates are returning to college, vocational school, or becoming apprentices in the skilled trades, a more direct path would lead to faster success, financial security, and both professional and personal growth. Making young people aware of the benefits of a career in the trades is a big part of solving the labor shortage.

Initiatives Working to Strengthen the Skilled Trades

Here are some of the initiatives in the industry supporting the development of a strong workforce in the trades to fill the approximately 750,000 positions that will be vacant in the next 6 years.

  • The National Association of Remodelers (NARI) has an education and workforce development initiative. NARI “supports increased training opportunities that will lead to greater access to skilled labor, without discrimination based on labor affiliation,” and “supports efforts to integrate Career and Technical Education back into High School curriculums across the country.”

    NARI has also partnered at the highest level, with SkillsUSA, a national non-profit    organization serving teachers, high school, and college students preparing for careers in the trades. SkillsUSA provides quality educational experiences in leadership, teamwork, citizenship, and character development. They provide state and national construction competitions requiring nearly every skill that can translate into a rewarding profession in the skilled trades
  • NKBA’s Next Up initiative seeks to bring education of the trades as a career option into middle and high schools as a response to shortages in the industry. Next Up endeavors to “recruit and empower a well-prepared workforce that will contribute to the future prosperity and vibrancy of the kitchen and bath industry.”
  • We are Generation T is another initiative with a powerful message on strengthening the skilled trades. Their goals include:
    1. Rallying a national audience to help promote or join the trades.
    2. Connecting people to apprenticeships, training, and trade-related programs in community colleges.
    3. Bringing shop classes back to target cities.

The ADB Family Supports the Skilled Trades

ADB is fortunate to have one of our own family members who has stepped up to learn the industry and work in the family business. We are incredibly proud of our Production Assistant Manager (PAM), and the daughter of ADB’s President, Dale Contant, Sydney Nunes, CRPM (Certified Remodeling Project Manager). Sydney spent a decade in the field before coming into the office as the PAM. She apprenticed for 5 years before becoming a project manager. Sydney was also named a “40 under 40” by Professional Remodeler when she was just 26. She has put her support of the skilled trades into practice, with a focus on lifting up the next generation of women in construction, by participating in Mentoring a girl in construction (MAGIC) camp, an organization introducing middle school and high school girls to careers in construction.

Introducing Project Manager, Ed DePriest

ADB's new Project Manager, Ed DePriest

Ed DePriest, is originally from Middle Tennessee. Ed and his wife relocated to Marietta in 1999 because her family is from the area. He grew up in very rural Tennessee so everyone was self-reliant when it came to building whatever they needed. Family members and neighbors taught one another the skills necessary to be self-sufficient from a young age.

Ed’s high school offered the Trades & Industry class. The T&I class had either a mechanical focus or a building focus. Ed chose a building focus, and with his classmates, built a greenhouse for the agricultural club. They started the project from scratch, laying the block and installing fiberglass panels on the frame they built.  This class helped lay the foundation for Ed’s future. 

A Solid Foundation of Construction Experience

Ed has worked in construction for more than thirty years. He started out working for a custom home builder. He had to do every task on the jobsite, from cutting trees on the property, to roofing—it was like a crash course in building. Working in custom home building gave Ed the opportunity to learn every angle of the building process.

For approximately 18 years prior to working at ADB, Ed performed construction supervision and punch work. He progressed into the supervisory role due to the length, and extent, of his experience, and his sharp eye for detail. Ed still enjoys the building process. Part of his management philosophy is that he wouldn’t ask his crew to do anything that he wouldn’t be willing to do, including ditch digging. “It’s noble to say that, until you’re in the ditch,” he joked.

Ed’s previous experience doing punch work honed his ability to spot any errors or incomplete tasks left at a project’s completion. He inspected completed homes and repaired or finished anything that was not up to his high standards. His great attention to detail is still a wonderful asset as part of the ADB team and it serves him well in the role of Project Manager. 

The Strongest Link of Communication from Clients to Crew

As a Project Manager, Ed is the primary point of contact for our clients throughout the course of their remodeling project. He is the link between his crew members and homeowners, making sure that the lines of communication are working well. He also oversees the entire crew working on a project, making sure that everything is done to his, and ADB’s, high standards.

A friend of Ed’s enjoyed working for ADB and recommended he apply for an open carpenter position. Ed checked out ADB on Guild Quality and other websites and was glad to discover “a stellar reputation.” He chose to apply at ADB because from what he found out about us online, “It seemed they like to do things once and do it right the first time, and that is the same way I am.” He also appreciated the level of ADB’s craftsmanship as he saw it displayed on our website.  

Additionally, one of the reasons Ed enjoys remodeling with ADB is that he works on a lot of projects, especially bathrooms and kitchens. There is variety in the project locations and the rooms being remodeled, different than while he was in new home building where he stayed in one place for a long time repetitively doing the same thing. He did not want to build the same houses over and over.  Ed appreciates the challenge of completing various projects, managing his crew, working with his hands, and applying real craftsmanship to ADB’s projects.

Ed relaxes with Dale & Heather on our annual company Fishing Trip

Hardworking and It Shows

When he is not working, Ed enjoys spending time outdoors, especially hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking. He also likes drag racing, and fixing up old Chevy trucks in his spare time.

One lesson his long career in construction has taught him is “Don’t just double check your crew member’s work, double check your own work!” Ed is hardworking, and he hopes it shows. A willingness to critique his own work, and enough humility to admit he holds himself to the same standards as his crew, shows us how lucky we are to have such a great Project Manager and craftsman on our team!

6 Benefits of a Career in Construction

Reposted with permission from Build Your Future.
Author: Kelsey Zibell, NCCER Guest Contributor

Construction is all around us. It builds our homes, schools, offices, roads, hospitals, theme parks—everything. It is vital to everyone’s life. Yet, it is one of the most misunderstood industries.

As four-year degrees have been heavily pushed over the years, the amount of students and adults pursuing careers in construction has decreased significantly. This has created a steep skills gap in America.

However, the growing demand for craftspeople has left the industry in an interesting position that benefits newcomers to the industry. With high demand comes high salaries, ample opportunity and room for career growth.

So, you may be asking yourself, exactly what benefits does a career in construction offer? Well, there are so many! But here are the top six benefits to a career in construction:

Get a Head Start

Most construction careers follow an apprenticeship learning model. This means that as soon as you decide you want to pursue a skilled craft, you can begin working with on the job training through an apprenticeship.

With this ‘earn while you learn’ model, you can earn a paycheck while learning the core competencies of your trade.

Some crafts may require associate degrees, industry credentials or certifications. However, these education requirements are often short term and can be completed at the same time as an apprenticeship. Therefore, when pursuing a craft career, you are still going to join the workforce quicker than you would if you pursued a four-year degree.

With short-term education expenses and a fast track into the workforce, craft professionals are able to start making a paycheck while dodging large student loans. Currently, there is $1.5 trillion of student debt in the United States. With the price of an education continuing to climb, it makes sense to pursue a career in construction and start making money right away.

Endless Opportunity

With seven out of every 10 jobs available in the United States requiring less than a four-year degree, the current job market is oversaturated with college graduates. By pursuing a craft career, you will be opening yourself up to more possibilities and opportunities. When you complete a technical degree, apprenticeship or craft training certificate, you are highly marketable in the job market.

Additionally, with a skills gap and upcoming wave of retirees, there will be a demand for 1 million craft professionals by 2023. This is a staggering deficit, but it makes room for a lot of opportunity for new craftspeople.

Want to know what the job demand is in your state? Take a look at BYF’s Craft Labor Map and check out the demand for skilled crafts by state and by specific crafts.

Variety of Careers

There are so many specialties within the construction industry. With a seemingly endless list of craft careers, there is something out there for everyone.

Whether you are creative, mathematically inclined or a natural problem solver, there is a craft career for you.

In addition to different interests, there are different education requirements for different professions. Have your mind set on a college degree, associate degree or technical education program? Take a look at out our trading cards and see what the education requirement is for the different specialties.

Not sure where to start? Take the Craft Pro Quiz and see which construction specialty suits you the best!

Freedom to Travel

With a high demand for craft professionals in every state, there is no limit to where a craft career can take you. Whether you move around on your own or work for a national or global construction company, there are endless ways to travel around. A career in construction presents the unique opportunity to travel throughout the country and get paid while doing so.

Construction happens all around us. It happens in every country, every state and nearly every city. If you are interested in traveling, a craft career is perfect for you. With the opportunity to travel and work across the country or even the world, you can go anywhere you please with a construction skillset.

Additionally, when working in construction, your ‘office’ is always changing and in a variety of exciting places. Whether you are building a home, baseball park or theme park – you get to enjoy the added benefit of a constant change of scenery.

Room for Career Growth

It is estimated that 29% of the construction workforce will retire by 2026. By 2031, this number worsens as 41% of the current workforce is expected to retire. Essentially, almost half of the workforce will need to be replaced in just over a decade.

Though this is a frightening number, it puts newcomers to the industry in a good position.

As boomers leave open opportunities in the skilled crafts, specifically in high up positions like journeyman, superintendent and project manager, there will be a lot of room for career growth.

With the opportunity to continue to move up in the industry, there is no limit to how high a craft professional can go. With experience, expertise and passion – a craftsperson could become an executive, CEO or owner of their own company. In construction, the only thing limiting your career growth is your desire to move up.

High Wages

With such a high demand for craft professionals, companies are willing to spend more to get the skills they need. For those in the construction industry, this means they are getting paid higher salaries than ever before.

When you factor in these high salaries, less debt and the ability to start earning a wage as an apprentice, craft professionals are getting an early start on making enough money to live comfortably.

Each of these benefits alone is enough to make a career in construction worth exploring. But when you look at them together, it is hard to believe they can all come with a single career choice.

Interested in learning a construction craft? Find an NCCER-accredited training center near you.