FINDING THE WORKERS OF TOMORROW TODAY: THE PROCESS
Word of mouth or an ad run in the local paper used to be all that was needed to get potential workers lined up at the door. No longer. The labor shortage is real and getting increasingly desperate for the roofing/construction industry. However, there are organizations and programs in place for you to partner with to find workers for your business. Investing time with these organizations is likely the solution to your labor challenges.
GEORGIA ROOFING CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION (GARCA)
The Georgia Roofing Contractors Association of Georgia (GARCA) is a non-profit trade organization representing the entire roofing supply chain, including contractors, suppliers, material and equipment manufacturers and service providers. The Georgia Roofing Contractors Association Rooftopper Newsletter is sent out quarterly and is full of the latest industry news and resources for our members.
CONSTRUCTION EDUCATION FOUNDATION OF GEORGIA (CEFGA)
A great organization to partner with is the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia. CEFGA is a 501(c)3 non-profit created by leaders in the Georgia construction industry who recognized a need to train and support the next generation of skilled labor. CEFGA has several successful programs designed to help companies in GA find qualified laborers.
- Construction Ready Students. CEFGA’s nationally recognized Construction Ready program is an NCCER-accredited, four-week training and certification “boot camp,” offered free of charge at four Atlanta-area locations for qualified students. Since 2014, the Construction Ready Program has trained and placed 1,000+ graduates into full-time, living wage careers with construction companies throughout Georgia.
- K12 Pipeline Students. CEFGA partners with the Georgia Department of Education, employers, trade associations and philanthropic organizations to provide support and services to construction program in schools statewide. Currently, CEFGA has certified school programs in Architecture, Construction, and Metals. Statewide, CEFGA provides over 160 skilled trade construction programs in Georgia schools.
- CEFGA CareerExpo provides employers a way to meet in person with students interested in the construction industry. CareerExpo includes SkillsUSA State Championships, a competition that gives students the opportunity to test their skills in a number of construction-related disciplines. These events have become increasingly successful, drawing a record 8,600-plus attendees in 2019. GARCA will partner with CEFGA on the first ever roofing competition at the SkillsUSA event at the World Congress Center on February 25, 2022.
CEFGA has the programs and contacts in place for you to immediately meet and recruit your next labor force. However, building your own relationships with local high schools can also pay off. Here are some suggestions.
FUTURE BUSINESS LEADERS OF AMERICA (FBLA-PBL)
FBLA-PBL is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation that seeks to mentor and support high school and college students who want a career in business. This organization is a great resource to connect with students who are entrepreneurial and looking to work with business mentors. Every FBLA organization with have a teacher or administrator sponsor. Reach out to this adult and let him or her know that you are available to speak with and work with students to educate them on the reality of owning your own business and the business opportunities in the roofing industry. Students in FBLA are required to create a portfolio of real-world accomplishments and develop their business and leadership skills across levels. Internships with your roofing company can be a great opportunity for these students.
PARENT TEACHER STUDENT ASSOCIATION (PSTA)
What does the PTSA have to do with roofing labor? Well, potentially a lot. Consider reaching out to the local PTSA organization at each school and offer to be a guest speaker at their meetings. Talking with parents about opportunities for their students to be trained and employed in a sustainable career can also be a way to recruit workers. Additionally, you will be getting your company’s name in front of potential customers.
As any business owner knows, business runs on relationships. A satisfied customer quickly spreads the word about your work to his friends and family. Finding the labor force of tomorrow will require networking and building relationships with the organizations on the ground who have access to tomorrow’s labor force, namely, high school students. But the potential payoff is a steady stream of young people ready to be mentored into the roofing industry of the future.