Fine Homebuilding, in Partnership With CertainTeed and SkillsUSA, Awards $25,000 in Scholarships as Part of Its #KeepCraftAlive Movement
An awards ceremony is taking place at the SkillsUSA 53rd Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference, the world’s largest showcase of skilled trades
Fine Homebuilding is awarding $25,000 in scholarships to the next generation of craftsmen as part of a broad sweeping campaign to “Keep Craft Alive.” In fact, the company has stepped up in its leadership position to leverage all its resources to help bring critical awareness to an important statistic: 10 million skilled workers are needed by 2020, according to SkillsUSA.
Editorial director Rob Yagid explains, “Fine Homebuilding has launched the multifaceted #KeepCraftAlive movement to help close the skills gap. We are partnering with industry organizations and influencers to build awareness of the skills training and educational opportunities that exist in this country, and we’ll be awarding student scholarships to support those who want to pursue a path in the trades. Also — and this is perhaps our most challenging and important task — we’ll continue to celebrate the value of true craftsmanship in all trades in order to influence the cultural narrative about what it means to be a respected, successful professional.”
In the spirit of the #KeepCraftAlive mission to close the skills gap, and in alignment with Fine Homebuilding’s focus on the economics of the construction industry, the company has established a partnership and unique scholarship opportunities for SkillsUSA members. Fine Homebuilding is offering a scholarship opportunity for SkillsUSA high school, college/post-secondary school, and alumni members studying in construction-related fields who plan to continue their education in community colleges, undergraduate programs, or industry certifications.
Fine Homebuilding will award five $5,000 scholarships — a total of $25,000 — to students in fields such as architectural drafting, carpentry, cabinetmaking, electrical and residential wiring, HVAC, masonry, woodworking, and plumbing for the 2017-2018 academic year.
During the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, the following winners will be acknowledged at a special reception on June 21st at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.:
- Harris Lanier: (Winner – Construction), Sanford, N.C.
- Isaiah Elam: (Winner – Carpentry), McCall Creek, Miss.
- Sam Vitez (Winner – Carpentry) Whitehouse Station, N.J.
- Will Lee: (Winner – HVAC) Leland, Miss.
- Eddie Escamilla (Winner – Electrical) Las Vegas
Applicants wrote a 300-word essay and submitted a letter of support from a teacher, administrator, SkillsUSA advisor, or educational/professional mentor as part of the application process.
As the official sponsor of the Fine Homebuilding #KeepCraftAlive Scholarship Awards event, CertainTeed Corporation has donated $20,000 toward the scholarship fund. “As an organization with a rich history in the construction industry, we are incredibly proud to team up with an outlet like Fine Homebuilding to join a cause that gives back to the next generation of people who have a passion for the trades,” said Mara L. Villanueva-Heras, vice president of corporate marketing at CertainTeed. “The time is now to make sure the talent pipeline continues to be filled, so the tradesmen and women of tomorrow are prepared to successfully enter the workforce.”
Industry and community come together
In creating these scholarships, Fine Homebuilding’s focus is on the economics of the construction industry. Yagid and his team note a disparity between the employment demands of a growing housing industry and a shortage of trained qualified labor – the skills gap – which is rocking home building to its core.
In a 2016 industry survey prepared by Marianne Cusato, a professor at Notre Dame’s School of Architecture, 93% of professionals felt their businesses would grow over the next year if not for difficulties in hiring skilled employees. Of those who are qualified as skilled laborers, 61% attribute the shortage to a lack of exposure to the trades for younger generations.
Fine Homebuilding publisher Renee Jordan shares deeper insights: “Many in our Fine Homebuilding community have echoed these struggles, whether in trying to hire an employee for their own construction crew or in hoping to find a qualified contractor to work on their own home. There is an ongoing discourse around the factors involved in the current skills gap ranging from the housing crisis and the Great Recession, to the lack of formal apprenticeship programs, to the reduction in an immigrant labor pool and the rampant extraction of shop class and technical training in public education since the 1990s. But the fact remains that there is home-building work to be done in this country and not enough trained builders and remodelers to do it. From the pace of building, to the cost of construction, to the prices of homes, to the quality of our housing infrastructure, the skills gap is having a deep and far-reaching influence.
For more information about the #KeepCraftAlive initiative and to get involved, visit www.keepcraftalive.org.