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While the cooling housing market, slowing sales, and affordability concerns remain top issues in the industry, labor remains a consistent issue facing the home building sector. In a survey of NAHB members, 85% reported the availability and cost of workers was one of the “most significant” challenges builders expected to face in 2022. Builder concerns echo research suggesting the industry is facing a “severe” shortage of workers. A Home Builders Institute (HBI) report published in June suggests the number of construction workers needed to keep up with demand within the sector is 740,000 per year.

“Attracting skilled labor will remain a key objective for construction firms in the coming quarters and will become more challenging as the labor market strengthens,” says NAHB assistant vice president for forecasting and analysis Danushka Nanayakkara-Skillington. “NAHB and the Home Builders Institute have calculated that the construction industry needs more than 61,000 new hires every month in order to keep up with both industry growth and the loss of workers either through retirement or simply leaving the sector for good. From 2022 through 2024, this total represents a need for an additional 2.2 million new hires for construction. NAHB expects job openings to decline in construction in the coming quarters, but the long-term skills shortage will persist and will be a challenge to an eventual housing rebound.”

Recognizing the need to attract workers to the industry and destigmatize careers in the trades, many industry organizations, including the NAHB, HBI, Building Talent Foundation (BTF), The Home Depot, and the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), are piloting programs, events, and initiatives to encourage individuals to consider careers in the trades.

Building Talent Foundation

BTF was established by 20 leading home building companies and is committed to building a sustainable residential construction workforce. The organization’s mission is to advance the education, training, and career progression of young people and people from underrepresented groups as skilled technical workers and business owners in residential construction. Over the past year, the organization has entered partnerships with SkillPointe Foundation, the Southern Careers Institute in Texas, M.T. Copeland Technologies, the Painting Contractors Association, StrataTech Education Group, the Floor Covering Education Foundation, Friendly House, NextWave Safety Solutions, and Resideo Technologies to provide career coaching and job placement services to students involved with each organization.

BTF and its partners are focused on engaging 1 million youth and career changers to explore careers in construction by 2030 and have set a goal to bring 100,000 new skilled workers into the sector with a strong focus on women and people of color. Through the organization’s JobsToBuild career exploration and job placement tool, BTF helped more than 500 students find trade jobs in 2021. Among those placements, the percentage of female workers placed was more than double the industry average, and nearly 70% of the placed individuals were people of color.

The organization published the 2021 Homebuilding Workforce Engagement Study highlighting reasons employees may leave jobs in the construction industry. The study identified employee engagement as one of the keys for employers to retain employees and a manner of addressing the labor shortage by reducing turnover and quits within the construction industry. As a result of the study, BTF developed several initiatives aimed at improving employee engagement, including providing greater access to training resources and career exploration through its JobsToBuild platform, facilitating best practices sharing and peer-to-peer learning, and offering career coaching to employees.

In addition to its partnerships, resources, and research, BTF hosted a pilot training and hiring event in June to promote recruiting for professional painting contractors. The training portion of the event featured curriculum and trainers from Sherwin-Williams’ HomeWork program and educational video content provided by the Painting Contractors Association.

Home Builders Institute

In addition to publishing its seasonal Construction Labor Market Report, the HBI trains skilled workers for the building industry, providing pre-apprenticeship and advanced training, certification programs, assistance in obtaining apprenticeship, and job placement services for students.

The nonprofit reported it experienced more than a 300% increase in the number of schools licensing its U.S. Department of Labor-approved trade skills curriculum since the start of the pandemic. HBI programs are present in 240 schools in 37 states. According to the HBI, the organization’s Schools to Skills grant initiative has funded more than $1.7 million in trade programs across 33 states in 159 schools since launching in 2019.


To help address the industry’s labor shortage, NAHB works with state and local home builders associations and career and technical education institutions, advocating for state and federal funds to be used to invest in industry-sponsored and validated programs. The organization’s Student Chapters program provides opportunities for high school and college students to get involved in the industry.

The association also helps builders associations with industry recruitment through videos highlighting various trades within the construction industry. The NAHB’s library includes videos highlighting drywall installation, welding, building systems, carpentry, electrical, painting, masonry, HVAC, and plumbing careers. The NAHB says videos can play an important role in getting the word out about the opportunities available for skilled trades professionals in the home building industry.

National Kitchen & Bath Association

Research conducted by the NKBA illustrated one of the largest hurdles in career recruitment for the building trades was a lack of awareness and education. An NKBA survey of high school students found continued stigma associated with occupations in the construction industry, with physically intensive work, low pay, and hazardous conditions among the chief concerns expressed by the students. The Skilled Labor Fund, a collaborative partnership between the NKBA, NAHB, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and National Housing Endowment, is focused on addressing the shortage of skilled labor entering the residential construction industry. Funds raised through the collaboration are given to local industry associations or schools as grants.

In addition to its collaboration in the Skilled Labor Fund, the NKBA also is encouraging younger individuals to consider industry careers through its NKBA NextUp initiative. Through the initiative, the NKBA is creating hands-on experiences that introduce high school students to design and construction, changing the dialogue about career paths to younger people, and connecting interest to action through the association’s network.

The Home Depot

The Home Depot Foundation launched its Path to Pro trades training program in 2018 with a $50 million commitment to train 20,000 skilled tradespeople by 2028 and diversify the trades industry. As of August 2022, the program and trades-focused partnerships have trained more than 29,000 participants and introduced more than 126,000 people to the skilled trades, surpassing its initial commitment six years ahead of schedule. After exceeding its goal, The Home Depot Foundation granted an additional $3.7 million to industry partners, including the HBI, Construction Ready, and the SkillPointe Foundation.

SkillPointe Foundation, which provides scholarships for individuals pursuing skills training, first entered a partnership with The Home Depot Foundation in 2021. The organizations launched a scholarship program to prepare workers to thrive in the economy while also addressing the skills gap in the construction industry. The Home Depot Foundation’s Path to Pro Scholarship by SkillPointe Foundation has granted $250,000 in financial assistance to high school seniors and graduates seeking skills training.

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