There was a huge turnout of the June Membership meeting. Members and visitors turned out to hear Eric Thorkilsen, CEO of This Old House, discuss the labor shortage in the trades: a subject nearly every NARI member is familiar with. Thorkilsen not only oversees the This Old House television program, but also the magazine and social media portals that have sprung off the original show.
Thorkilsen went over some startling statistics about the decrease in available trade workers. In fact, it is believed that for every five people retiring from the trades, only two of the younger generation are entering to replace them. There are many reasons for this. First, over time the trades have developed an undeserved stigma – young people are simply not encouraged to learn plumbing, carpentry etc. Additionally, there are fewer and fewer high school shop and carpentry classes to begin exposing the next generation and trade schools are few and far between. Eric was joined by Charlie Silva and This Old House apprentice Nathan Gilbert who echoed the struggles of finding skilled workers.
The Generation NEXT Program has been working to raise awareness and increase the pipeline of skilled tradespeople. They have raised money for scholarships for the mikeroweWORKS program and, of course, partnered with EM NARI at last year’s Youth Remodeling Career Day. Together, we are hopeful that the efforts of all these groups will pay off and that more young adults will see that a career in the trades offers a great future.
Thanks to Kohler Co. for hosting the dinner meeting and our afternoon seminar. The seminar covered new developments in sustainability and efficiency in kitchen and bath design products. Kohler’s Alison Stanley and Chris Fournier shared industry developments that allow consumers to integrate sustainable products without sacrificing performance or aesthetics!
Also that evening, we awarded our 2018 scholarships. Congratulations to Tyler Ellis, son of Mike Ellis (MJ Enterprise), Jeremy Wheeler – our James Marcotte Trade Scholarship winner, and Sarah LeClerc – winner of our designated trade scholarship for a woman entering the remodeling industry.