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The skilled labor shortage in construction has been well-documented in recent years, with research from the Home Builders Institute even suggesting the shortage has reached a “crisis level” in the past few months. To help combat the burden of labor shortage, the Southern Careers Institute (SCI) and Building Talent Foundation (BTF) have partnered to fill the need for skilled technical workers.

BTF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the residential construction talent pool founded by 20 of the largest residential building companies in the country. The organization works to improve education, training, and career progression for younger individuals and people from underrepresented groups. The SCI offers programs in trades and other vocational programs at its eight Texas locations.

“BTF is proud to partner with a vocational school like SCI that offers high-quality skills training tailored to the current needs in the job market,” Branka Minic, CEO of BTF, says. “The partnership not only benefits SCI graduates looking to secure employment, but also positions BTF as a reliable provider of talent for our employer partners who are actively seeking skilled workers.”

The partnership emerged after a former SCI welding instructor referred Roy Hawkins, director of strategic partnerships for SCI, to BTF. After contacting the BTF’s San Antonio office, both organizations “immediately saw an opportunity for a collaboration to assist the residential building industry by partnering to connect [the BTF] with graduates from SCI’s electrical technician and HVAC programs,” Hawkins says.

To help SCI graduates, the BTF-SCI partnership outlines a commitment from BTF to connect SCI graduates to employment and work-based learning opportunities with BTF employer partners. SCI graduates will also benefit from access to BTF’s JobsToBuild platform, which facilitates connections between job seekers and employers in residential construction.

“The missions of BTF and SCI align well. We both seek to train people for careers and place them with companies who need skilled employees,” Hawkins says. “Working together, the goal is to improve individual lives and meet the talent needs of employers, all while strengthening our communities and the economy.”

BTF says the three main challenges in the residential construction industry are a weak talent pipeline, a disconnect between training programs and employers’ hiring needs, and a high turnover rate of newly hired employees among trade contractors. The BTF engagement team consists of career coaches and placement specialists, who match job seekers to the exact expectations of BTF’s employer partners, optimizing successful hiring outcomes for both individuals and hiring companies.

“This partnership will help us to further align our curriculum with the needs of the residential building industry,” Hawkins says. “Our goal is to supply this industry with graduates who can help them reduce the worker shortages they are currently experiencing. By developing partnerships like these, we give our graduates additional opportunities in the employment sector.”