December 6, 2018

HBA Hosts Building Central Texas: Careers in Residential Construction Forum

The  Home Builders Association of Greater Austin (HBA) welcomed over 50 High School and community college educators, secondary trainers, and employers to speak about career opportunities, pathways, and training programs in the residential construction industry! Ross Britton of US Ecological and HBA VP of Education and Workforce Development, moderated the discussion with HBA CEO Emily Blair. Attendees shared and learned about available training in the area and the HBA relayed the needs in the industry as well as examples of successes among other home builders associations across the state in creating partnerships with the HBA and the community to develop the residential construction industry workforce. The HBA of Greater Austin is one of Texas’ 27 local home builders associations that are affiliated with the Texas Association of Builders (TAB) and the National Association of Builders (NAHB). Developing individuals for opportunities in this industry is a priority in the Austin, Texas, and the national market.

“We are really excited with the turnout for the initial meeting,’ said Britton. “It is obvious that our industry and education partners have concerns about our depleted workforce in the construction trades. Everyone wants to work together to help the industry, and also connect those interested in a construction careers to the right people.”

In addition to HBA members, we welcomed representatives from:

  • Austin and other ISD’s in the area
  • Austin Community College
  • Greater San Marcos Partnership
  • Goodwill Central Texas
  • ICC
  • NAHB’s Home Builders Institute
  • Skillpoint Alliance
  • Texas State Technical College

“It was a real eye-opener for the industry – we now know we need to look at long range ways to partner with schools to offer educational options earlier than previously thought,” said Blair. “Really, we should be offering children the chance to explore construction career offerings in middle school or earlier. We were excited to hear the schools were eager to work with the HBA to shape future curricula and skilled trades/CTE programs.”

The United States is facing a critical shortage of skilled workers. The health, manufacturing and construction industries are just a few examples. Specifically, the need for skilled construction industry professionals is great. In 2012, 21% of home builders experienced a labor shortage, and that number grew to 63% in 2017. For every three tradesmen who retire, there is only one skilled person entering the workforce to fill their boots. With the population of the State of Texas projected to double by 2050, Texans will need thousands of homes to house these residents, and we need skilled craftsmen to build these homes.

The HBAGA wants to work with educators and builders to direct individuals toward meaningful career choices and employment. In Texas, occupations that require an Associate Degree or vocational certification pay an average of more than $37,000 a year, compared to the average pay of less than $25,000 for those with only a high school diploma or less. A graduate who enters the construction industry can make a great living and might also choose to work toward a four-year college degree while working, often without having to suffer the overwhelming burden of student loans.