Tag: <span>Future Workforce</span>

Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3) Plans Activities Around the 2022 International Roofing Expo

Activities include a virtual reality experience and a future workforce-focused contractor educational panel.

Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3), a group of progressive roofing professionals focused on technology solutions for the roofing industry, announced activities scheduled for the International Roofing Expo (IRE) 2022.

Members will meet Monday, January 31 at the Pan American Life Center in New Orleans. Together they will hear updates on Tesla Solar roofs, recent technology company acquisitions and then will participate in a hands-on virtual reality experience to understand how the tool can benefit the roofing industry.

RT3 will also host an educational panel on Tuesday, February 1 at 7:45 a.m. The session is titled Casting the Net for Your Future Workforce. In this panel, RT3 contractor members share how they are working with their schools, youth programs and communities to build a pipeline for the future roofing workforce. From multi-organizational apprenticeship programs to working with youth from schools who don’t want to pursue college to getting involved in the community and developing in-house training opportunities, these contractors will share what they are doing, how they got started and tips for success.

The panel is moderated by Heidi J. Ellsworth and participants include RT3 contractor members John Peck of PB Roofing, Charles Antis, Antis Roofing & Waterproofing, Christee Holbrook of Graham Roofing, and Josey Parks, CEO of J Wales Enterprises.

“Building our future workforce has been and will continue to be a challenge for our industry,” stated Karen Edwards, RT3 Director. “Several of our members have implemented initiatives that are working to attract and retain workers and we wanted to share that with the rest of the industry. This is a chance for other contractors to learn how to get started and get ideas as to what might work in their service areas.”

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About Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3)
Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3) strives to find innovative technology solutions to be used within the roofing industry.  RT3 provides insights from progressive thought leaders both inside and outside the roofing industry along with practical resources for implementing potential solutions successfully. The organization will encourage and enable contractors to embrace technology as they seek to grow their businesses.  With a commitment to disseminate technology advancement information, RT3 will help build the professionalism and appeal of the roofing industry. Learn more at www.rt3thinktank.com.

RT3 Supports Roofing Day in D.C. 2020, Encourages All Industry Stakeholders to Participate

All roofing industry professionals are invited to come together in Washington, D.C., to elevate the image of the industry and share the message with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Roofing Day in D.C. 2020 is presented by the National Roofing Contractors Association and will take place April 21-22. All roofing professionals are urged to participate and consider bringing one or more employees.

“Help us demonstrate the depth of talent and diversity in our great industry,” says Reid Ribble, NRCA’s CEO. “2020 is an election year, and it is especially critical and important for you to participate in Roofing Day in D.C. 2020.”

Roofing Day in D.C. brings together roofing contractors, distributors, manufacturers and other industry professionals from throughout the U.S. to voice the industry’s priorities to Capitol Hill. It is crucial members of Congress see roofing professionals and hear about the critical issues facing the roofing industry.

Professionals from all segments of the roofing industry will come to Washington, D.C., to discuss the most important legislative issues affecting the roofing industry, including solutions to workforce shortages. The Marriott Washington Wardman Park is the host hotel. Early-bird registration for Roofing Day in D.C. 2020 is $95 for company representatives, and NRCA is offering a special registration rate of $35 for roof system installers through Feb. 29, 2020.

For more information about Roofing Day in D.C. 2020, contact Duane Musser, NRCA’s vice president of government affairs, at (202) 400-2592 or dmusser@nrca.net or visit www.nrca.net/advocacy/roofingday.

About NRCA
NRCA is one of the construction industry’s most respected trade associations and the voice and leading authority in the roofing industry for information, education, technology and advocacy. It represents all segments of the roofing industry, including contractors; manufacturers; distributors; architects; consultants; engineers; building owners; and city, state and government agencies. NRCA’s mission is to inform and assist the roofing industry, act as its principal advocate and help members in serving their customers. NRCA continually strives to enhance every aspect of the roofing industry.

For information about NRCA and its services and offerings, visit www.nrca.net.

From military boots to Beacon Roofing Supply

By Karen L. Edwards,

RT3 member Beacon Roofing Supply developed a recruitment strategy that focuses on members of the military who are re-entering civilian life.

Beacon Roofing Supply Senior Recruiter Brian Link came to the roofing industry from his role as a recruiter for the National Guard. He was on active duty from 2003 – 2016 and is still active today but on a reserve basis. He spent his last few active years as a recruiter for the Guard so his transition into a recruiting position at Beacon was a natural fit for him. He interviewed for his position at Beacon with Dana Bamvakais who was a military spouse for many years.

Photo: Above and Beyond Award from ESGR. Left to right: Dana Bamvakais (Vice President of HR West Division), Governor Mike Parsons, SFC (Sergeant First Class) Brian Link (Military Program Manager), 2LT (Second Lieutenant) Brian Hughes (Market Dispatcher)

After Brian joined the Beacon team, he and Dana began planning a program that would focus on recruiting newly discharged members of the military. “The military in general is a blue-collar type industry where you form strong relationships with people of similar backgrounds and experiences; people who work hard and do what it takes to get the job done,” Brian said. “When you leave the military, you miss that camaraderie.”

He knew that Beacon was the kind of company that could deliver some of those things that those in the military were used to having: that strong team, a stable company with the option to have a long career, the ability to provide for their families and an environment that cared about them. He and Dana worked together to develop the outlines of a military recruiting program that would target those transitioning to the civilian life.

They put together flyers that targeted the Transitional Assistance Program (TAPS) that all branches offer to those leaving to let them know there was a place for them at Beacon. The programs help the military members create a LinkedIn program, develop a resume and teaches other skills that will help make the transition smoother.

Brain cited an example of a person he had met two years previously who was in the military in Florida. He wanted to move back near his family in Michigan and Brian was able to find him a position with the company in that area.

The military recruitment program has the full support of the company, from the Board of Directors to the leadership team and to the employees.  They are currently in the process of trying to get their Drive program approved as an apprenticeship so that employees can use their GI benefits toward earning their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). “If someone has experience driving large vehicles in the military, they will be able to complete a form detailing their experience, taking it to their state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and only have to take the written portion of the CDL exam,” explained Brian.

It’s evident that Beacon is committed to supporting the military by the recognitions that they have received. The Employer Support of Guard and Reserve, the lead U.S. Defense Department program promoting cooperation and understanding between civilian employers and their National Guard and Reserve employees, recognized Beacon with their Above and Beyond Award with the Governor of Missouri presenting them with the award. They also recently received the Military Times award for Best for Vets.

“We really support our guard and reserve troops when they are deployed,” said Brian. “We send them care packages and let them know that they will have a job when they return from deployment.”

If you are a recently discharged member of the military or even if you’ve been out for many years, Beacon wants to talk to you. See all of their career opportunities or contact Brian Link at blink@becn.com.

Source: RoofersCoffeeShop.

Construction industry uses simulations to help recruit young workers


To appeal to the younger generation, some construction companies, unions and schools have turned to simulators that replicate jobs done by heavy equipment, such as pushing dirt or lifting steel.
As the construction industry works to build a younger workforce, it is trying to attract teenagers with realistic computer simulators of heavy machines such as bulldozers, cranes and excavators, according to www.sfgate.com.

As Baby Boomers retire, the construction industry continues to face a labor shortage as construction projects are booming. More than three-quarters of U.S. construction firms said they were having a hard time filling some of or all their positions, according to a survey released in January by the Associated General Contractors of America. Thirty percent said worker shortages were the biggest concern for their firms—by far the most pressing of 16 issues presented.

And the industry is facing another challenge as it tries to fill positions by recruiting younger workers—many are not interested. Many young people have been encouraged to consider college as the only option after high school, and others are wary after the industry was hit hard by the Great Recession.

To appeal to the younger generation, some construction companies, unions and schools have turned to simulators that replicate jobs done by heavy equipment, such as pushing dirt or lifting steel.

Simulators are made to offer immersive experiences. Most have real controls in the proper locations to help users develop muscle memory, and the sounds are reproduced accurately.

Trey Henry, a 17-year-old senior at the Academy for Career Education trade school in Reno, Nev., attends a simulator program at the Nevada chapter of Associated General Contractors that serves as training for him and scouting for his instructors, who work for area construction companies. Rather than simply pushing a button, to start an excavator simulator, Henry must turn a key, increase the throttle speed, engage the hydraulic lock and buckle his seat belt.

“I was on the excavator and digging a trench, and I got stuck a little bit, and it jerks you like you’re stuck,” Henry says. “You actually feel the chair moving when you pull the dirt.”

The excavator has three screens and also can be used with a virtual reality headset that produces a 360-degree view. Two pedals operate the tracks, and joysticks move the boom and open the bucket.

Henry has spent about seven hours on the simulators and says his experience has persuaded him to pursue a career working with heavy machinery.

Several students at the Fulton Schools College and Career Academy outside Atlanta said they determined the construction industry was not for them after challenging experiences using a crane simulator, which required precision, depth perception and hand-eye coordination.

“You had to understand people’s lives were in danger,” says Christopher Sparks, 17. “I felt like every time you hit something, it would move in a certain way so you would have to restart every time. It was like a video game on hard.”

Get more industry news and insight delivered right to your inbox when you sign up for the RT3 SmartBrief e-newsletter. 

Source: NRCA

RT3 member Korellis Roofing has dedicated training center to help apprentices learn

The training center supports the continued development and supplementation of the company’s apprenticeship program.

By Karen Edwards, RCS Editor.

After Korellis Roofing sent us some photos of their crews learning in the company’s new training center, we wanted to know more about this great idea. We had a great phone conversation with Dan Stella, Korellis’ workforce development manager, who was hired to run the training center and ensure that the company has the highest skilled workers available.

Stella explained that Korellis Roofing is a union shop and their apprentices don’t often have as much opportunity to learn and install roof details while in the field. By creating the training center and his position as workforce development manager, the apprentices get the chance to learn and practice installing detail work that is often done in the field by the more experienced journeymen.

The facility was created after the company moved its offices into another building on the property. Their first training was held on May 24, and they have held regular trainings since opening the center. Stella says they take advantage of inclement weather when they can’t work out in the field by having the apprentices come into the training center to learn and practice their skills.

The first session held was CERTA training. Stella had taken the NRCA’s Train the Trainer course so he was authorized to teach and certify some crew members not certified in the torch-down work required for a job installation. By performing the CERTA training in the center, Korellis was able to assign more certified torch applicators on the project and complete it ahead of schedule.

Before the company started a Spanish clay tile job, they were able to prepare for it by roofing the steep slope deck in the training center and bringing in Keith Huebner, a local 11 apprenticeship trainer, to assist. Not only was it a good learning experience for the apprentices, it was a nice refresher for the more experienced team as well.

Stella said that the team really appreciates the training opportunities. “I’ll talk to the foreman to see who needs help in what areas and plan related trainings,” said Stella. “In some cases, the workers will reach out to me to ask for help in specific areas that they want to learn more about.”

The plan behind establishing the training facility is to help the roofing jobs be more efficient and smooth. “Practice makes perfect and the training center allows for the roofers to be in a comfortable learning environment,” explained Stella. “By learning inside, they aren’t subject to the pressures of trying to learn in the field while still keeping the job on schedule.”

Get more industry news and articles when you sign up for the RT3 SmartBrief e-newsletter. 

Source: RoofersCoffeeShop

Lowe’s Takes Big Step to End the Skills Gap

By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.

Lowe’s just launched a workforce development program to educate young people on careers in trades like construction.

Generation T, or Gen T, is a consortium of 60 member organizations including manufacturers, schools and other stakeholders who are trying to end the skills gap. Lowe’s Skilled Trades Director Mike Mitchell led the development of the initiative. Left unaddressed, the skills gap reportedly could create a shortage of 3 million jobs by 2028.

Mitchell told the Charlotte-Observer that the company wants to debunk myths about skilled trades like carpentry, floor installation and plumbing. He said those positions are high paying and don’t require a college degree. Gen T’s goal is to understand why young people are avoiding the trades and introduce high school students to the trades as an alternative to college.

“The cause is two-fold,” Mitchell said in a Business Insider interview. “Past generations of skilled trade workers are retiring, and there aren’t enough trained workers to replace them. And for 40 years the skilled trades have been miscast. We need to help students understand the path to success leads through education that doesn’t have to be a four-year degree; skilled trades education is simply a different brand of education.”

According to the article, Gen T will “coordinate with its partners to donate products like appliances and tools to students studying trades and also help build networks so students can find apprenticeships.” Lowe’s has already donated tools to the schools near their North Caroline headquarters.

Gen T has set up a site that will serve as a “national marketplace for jobs, apprenticeships and education programs.”

“Individuals can leverage the platform to explore opportunities in the skilled trades and locate actual training and job opportunities in their area by a simple ZIP code search,” Mitchell said. “As more companies join the Generation T movement, more opportunities will become available within the portal.”

Get the latest industry news when you sign up for the RT3 Smart Brief. 

Source: RoofersCoffeeShop.

How an idea at a homebuilders association meeting grew into a statewide skilled trades initiative

By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.

Iowa Skilled Trades was started in 2017 to address the labor shortage and encourage youth to consider a career in the trades.

We love learning about new initiatives that will have a positive impact on the future of the roofing industry so when RoofersCoffeeShop® partner, Vickie Sharples, shared with me an organization she came across on Instagram, we knew we wanted to know more about them. The group she found is called Iowa Skilled Trades.

A visit to their website told me that this group is “A Team of Industry Pros Bringing Initiatives, Education & Awareness to Skilled Trades in Iowa.” We wanted to know more – what were they doing, how were they doing it, how did they get started?
To answer these questions, I had the opportunity to have a phone interview with Brandon Patterson CSP, CGP, CAPS, Workforce Development for the Home Builders Association of Iowa (HBAI), the group behind the Iowa Skilled Trades initiative. Brandon only recently joined the staff at the HBAI after having served on the board and as a volunteer for many years. He grew up in a family plumbing business and that is how he came to be a board member at HBAI.

Brandon said that every year, they would get together for their board meetings and talk about the need for builders, tradesman and craftsman, but that no one ever really seemed to do anything about it. “We are fans of the programs out there that support the development of interest in the trades, such as SkillsUSA and Keep Craft Alive, but we felt like our investment in those programs wasn’t making an impact in Iowa and we wanted a local initiative,” explained Brandon.

“A few years ago, we kind of got this crazy idea to make something happen. We got together with our local industry and started privately funding a program at one of our schools here in Des Moines called Central Academy that does industry-specific training for high schoolers. It could be nursing, aviation, pathology, CSI but they didn’t have an organized skilled trades program, so we raised the money to provide the funding to establish a skilled trades curriculum there.”

Their goal was to raise $900,000 to cover the first three years, but after getting started they realized they were going to need a little more for classroom build outs and other costs. They ended up raising $1.6 million and the school now has plumbing, HVAC, drywall, flooring, welding, framing, roofing and more. “We are in the process of switching over the curriculum to NCCER, which is a more of a widely utilized curriculum by both unions and non-unions,” said Brandon. “Year one will be core classes and the second and third year is where they specialize in a trade.”

Brandon said that after they raised the money to get the program in place, he was frustrated that so many people had no idea that the program existed and wanted to get the word out. They invited Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame to visit and speak about not only the need for skilled trades but to talk about what he saw at Central Academy and other Iowa programs. They organized a fundraising event that brought more than 1,600 people together and raised enough money for the group to continue their momentum. They put the nearly $90,000 that the event raised into scholarship funds to help cover costs for smaller programs such as the Professional Women in Building’s summer day camps for kids.

Their next initiative is called “Build my Future.” These are hands-on construction career days that are being held in four cities across the state of Iowa. The goal is to reach 4,500 youth and adults in Sioux City, Des Moines, Cedar Rapid/Iowa City and Quad Cities. “It’s a career fair but it’s hands on,” explained Brandon. “We’ve got roofing, plumbing, carpentry, welding, heavy equipment and we also have AR and VR. We want people to understand there is a tech component to it as well.”

The kids come from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the day and then from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. the event features an adult job fair. “We partner with other groups including the FFA, Scouts, SkillsUSA and other groups to try to bring the kids through the doors. Our goal is to expand next year into two or three additional locations.”

“Like everything we do at Iowa Skilled Trades, this event is not just builder specific,” Brandon said. “We have collaborated with union shops, commercial and residential associations, department of education, workforce development programs and others to make sure we are representing everything this industry has to offer. We like to make sure we are making a big lasting impact on the students with our events and from there let the student decide which path best suits them.”

They’ve also gotten very involved in supporting Professional Women in Building, partnering with them to host educational events, an award-winning girls’ construction camp and to develop tool kits for schools – including visits to the schools by members.

Iowa Skilled Trades began in 2017 under the HBAI educational corporation and their goal is to establish themselves as a separate entity so they can expand their reach beyond the community of HBA members. In just two years’ time they have seen tremendous interest and success.

Learn more about them at www.iowaskilledtrades.com.

Source: RoofersCoffeeShop

NRCA’s New and Exciting Training Program

By Cotney Construction Law.

At Cotney Construction Law, we are dedicated to bridging the skills gap. Along with the right guidance from construction organizations, professionals, and a roofing attorney, we can meet the labor demand for the future. The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) will be fundamental in this process with a new training program that will aim to educate and certify skilled workers. In fact, as one NRCA board member declared, this could be a “gamechanger” for the entire industry.

As we will discuss in this article, the NRCA’s new program will look to accomplish two feats. First, provide prospective roofing professionals with the education and training they need to succeed. Second, certify existing roofing professionals across the nation.

NRCA’s ProCertification Program Requirements

Certification courses and training classes will feature all of the most popular topics within the roofing industry including courses focused on roofing systems, solar, repair, and maintenance services. Students will be provided with educational online courses and training programs.

To become certified, roofers will need to successfully complete a written test and also a skills test. All courses and certifications will be developed off of current industry standards. Experienced and professional foremen will assess the certified skills test and provide training courses as well. Although the program has not launched yet, it should be open for enrollment later this year.

The Purpose of the Program

The primary motivation for this new educational and training course is to bridge the skills gap. NRCA believes that by investing over $10 million into this program that both current and prospective roofers can combat the labor shortage problem. However, another purpose of the program is to add legitimacy to a profession that has never required certifications or a formal training program before. NRCA members hope that this new institution of training and certifying professionals will also garner more respect from industry professionals and prospective clients as well.

Creating Long-Term Professionals in Roofing

The program should also add a certain sustainability to young roofing professionals opting to make roofing their career path. Young workers that join roofing companies on the entry level can enroll in roofing courses to further their education and training. This will help these young workers become long-term, certified professionals. Similarly, active roofers that desire to become certified may receive benefits of an improved salary within their roofing companies.

With NRCA’s vision, one day these certifications may be mandatory by insurance companies. Perhaps even construction companies will require their roofers to be certified in order to propose bids on projects as well.

Source: Cotney Construction Law

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.