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Trade UP: The Skilled Labor Fund

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The NKBA is on a mission to do all we can to help close America’s skilled labor gap. There is an increasing shortage of skilled workers in the kitchen and bath industry. Trained carpenters, electricians and plumbers are in short supply. That means new home builds and remodeling projects will cost more and take longer to complete. Right now, more than three million construction jobs in the U.S. that don’t require a four-year degree remain unfilled. Why? Mainly because they aren’t being presented to today’s students as a valid career option. We created our Trade UP Initiative to change perceptions about trade careers and the lucrative and rewarding living they can provide. 

“Our core purpose as a trade association is to help build and strengthen the kitchen and bath market,” says NKBA CEO Bill Darcy. “Inspiring a new generation of skilled professionals to embrace careers in the kitchen and bath field builds the foundation for a stronger workforce.”

The Skilled Labor Fund is one of three programs NKBA is supporting as part of Trade UP. SGC Horizon Building Group, publisher of several industry trade magazines including our own NKBA Innovation+ Inspiration, established the fund to address the lack of trained workers entering the industry. So far, they have raised $100,000 of their $5 million fundraising goal according to SGC Horizon Group Director Tony Mancini. And over 98 percent of funds raised will go directly to scholarships at accredited trade schools and training facilities in the residential construction field.

"The importance of developing the skilled labor force continues to increase as the housing market expands,” says Mancini. “We need the support of the entire residential construction market to ensure our effort’s success." 

And the industry is rallying to support the cause--Darcy serves on the fund’s operating committee along with representatives from the National Housing Endowment (NHE), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the National Association of the Remodeling industry (NARI).

To donate to the Skilled Labor Fund, visit SkilledLaborFund.org or NationalHousingEndowment.org. For more information on how your company can get involved, contact Tony Mancini at tmancini@sgcmail.com.

Together we can open minds and shine a light on the fulfilling careers available in the skilled trades.

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