On the final day of the 2019 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas, the National Kitchen and Bath Association hosted its inaugural #NextUp program, providing 150 high school students from Las Vegas’s Clark County School District with the opportunity to explore careers in the kitchen and bath industry.

The half-day program started with a panel discussion, where design and construction professionals shared stories of their own career paths, led by Australian master builder and television personality Karl Champley. Then each of the panelists led students in groups of fifteen around the KBIS show floor, visiting select exhibitors and introducing them to the industry’s products, professionals, and potential career opportunities in the field.

Students also had the opportunity to ask participating professionals about their careers, including their professional drivers, choices, and advice for the future.

“This was an amazing opportunity for our students and teachers. They couldn’t stop talking about interacting with such highly-regarded industry professionals and were in awe after touring the trade show floor,” says Craig Brockett, the Clark County School District’s Work-Based Learning Administrator. “We hope this experience motivates students to become the next generation of designers, fabricators, and builders. We can’t thank NKBA enough for organizing this event and we look forward to growing this partnership!”

According to the NKBA, the execution of the #NextUp program aims to highlight the ongoing need for skilled labor across the residential design and construction industry.

“The kitchen and bath industry’s growth trajectory coupled with the labor shortages we’re seeing in the economy gives us an ideal opportunity to educate the next generation on the many lucrative and creative opportunities we have in this market,” says Bill Darcy, CEO of the NKBA. “The NKBA #NextUp program at KBIS provided an ideal opportunity for us to directly engage with local Las Vegas high school students while connecting them with kitchen and bath professionals so they can gain insight into how they might want to consider structuring their own paths.”