The Building Talent Foundation (BTF) has entered a new partnership in Minnesota with the goal of tackling the skilled labor shortage in a state with high housing demand.

The nonprofit entered a partnership with Housing First Minnesota, an industry advocate with over 900 builder, remodeler, supplier, and developer members.

The collaboration is supported by funding from the Lennar Foundation and Housing First Minnesota. The organizations say joining forces is “a crucial step” towards building both a diverse and skilled talent pipeline in response to rising housing demand in Minnesota. Despite a 5% year-over-year growth in construction talent in Minnesota, a “critical shortage of skilled workers persists” in the state.

“Our collaboration with Housing First Minnesota is an exciting step towards reshaping the construction workforce. By addressing the critical talent shortage, we are not only supporting the industry but also constructing a pathway of opportunity for the next generation,” says BTF CEO Branka Minic. “Together, we are fostering an inclusive environment where individuals of all backgrounds can thrive and contribute to Minnesota’s vibrant residential construction sector.”

Together, BTF and Housing First Minnesota will promote careers in construction at job fairs and career events, guide high school students towards exploring careers in the industry, and connect Housing First Minnesota members and other local employers to qualified candidates through BTF’s JobsToBuild platform.

“The next generation of our workforce will be presented an incredible opportunity to build a future with the home building industry,” says Housing First Minnesota CEO James Vagle. “Cultivating a skilled workforce is the cornerstone of an effective construction industry, and through this collaboration we will deliver the education, training, and networking opportunities to build a strong future for Minnesota’s residential construction landscape.”

With the partnership, BTF has expanded to its 20th market. BTF engagement manager Lauren Kunkel will serve the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, connecting with local organizations and promoting construction careers in schools. In addition, she will provide career coaching, soft-skills training, job search assistance, referrals to educational institutions and employers, and post-hire support to candidates in the region.

BTF is a nonprofit founded by the Leading Builders of America, with a stated goal of addressing the talent shortage across residential construction. The organization’s mission is to advance the education, training, and career progression of young people and people from underrepresented groups in the residential construction sector.