November 13, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.
By Cass Jacoby.
Be part of the solution to the labor crisis — get involved and start mentoring and teaching the next generation of roofers.
In Season 4, Episode 48 of Roofing Road Trips, Heidi J. Ellsworth sits down with the former National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) CEO, Bill Good, and Roofing Alliance Executive Director Alison LaValley, as well as Dhaval Gajjar of Clemson University and Tony Lamanna of Arizona State University to talk about construction education.
It is no secret that the industry is experiencing a labor shortage. Between contractors aging out of the field and a lack of a clear pathway for the next generation of roofers to join the industry, the importance of changing construction education and ushering in a new era of roofers cannot be stated enough.
Luckily, the NRCA and Roofing Alliance have found effective solutions for engaging younger generations into roofing, from including a student competition into the annual International Roofing Expo or working with the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) to create programs where students can earn college credits while being an apprentice, these programs are making construction education and pathways into the roofing industry more accessible than ever.
“They want the interaction with industry,” says Allison. “They’re waiting for us. They’re there. They’re interested.” Yet, the construction industry needs more than new blood to fix the labor crisis, they also need mentors and industry professionals to get involved.
“One of the most effective and the powerful ways that he can make a difference for the workforce is to get involved,” says Dhaval. “What a cool position to be in if you’re a roofing contractor or manufacturer or distributor that you get to have an input in some of the curriculum, and that’s where you can inject some of the roofing-specific curriculum. There’s a lot of cool opportunities where the professionals can get involved.”
Younger generations of roofers need the wisdom of past roofers more than ever. So many of these programs designed to bring in younger generations only work when experienced generations of roofers get involved and become mentors to help shape the curriculum of these programs.
“For these construction management programs to be accredited is that they have to have an industry advisory board and it has to be effective. These industry advisory boards are composed typically of contractors in the area who have the opportunity to develop curriculum,” says Bill. “They have the opportunity to teach classes. They have the opportunity to look at the effectiveness of the recruiting programs and of the outplacement programs at these schools.”
As more roofing professionals are nearing the end of their careers in the industry and are looking to retire it is critical that they give their time and expertise back to the industry. Getting involved as a contractor is the single most impactful thing a contractor can do for their industry .
“I can’t stress enough how much contractors should reach out to those community colleges. Reach out to the colleges. Reach out to the high schools and offer your services to come teach,” says Tony. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to your local programs at no matter what level, whether it’s trade, community college, college, and offer your services. You’ll be surprised how willing they’ll be to work with you.”
Listen to the podcast to learn more about how to get involved and start educating the next generation of roofers.
Cass works as a reporter/writer for RoofersCoffeeShop, AskARoofer and MetalCoffeeShop. When she isn’t writing about roofs, she is putting her Master degree to work writing about movies and dancing with her plants