Q: What do you see in our local workforce to build and remodel homes?

A: This question really identifies a key issue. Capacity of our workforce to build a remodel homes in our local market and across the country is concerning. Anybody that has tried to call a handyman will know what I am talking about. The resources are scarce.

The real estate and financial downturn has had a huge impact on our workforce. Some workers had to find a different way to feed their families. As a matter of survival they changed industries. Other potential workers have decided that our cyclical nature was not for them. Great workers have had to leave due to immigration policies. Right or wrong our education system is not training enough people to pursue the trades. Psychology damage to employers because of their experiences during the downturn has made an impact on their current decision making. Hence, they are cautious to train and hire.

What to do?

To me, it is real simple. Educate.

Our industry is a great driver for a strong local economy. You cannot build and remodel homes offshore! People need to believe that our work is not only satisfying but also economically viable for the worker to pursue a career.

Our local workforce is like many others. A majority of our subcontractors and vendors are older (plus 50). This leaves great opportunities for our youth. We have a base of highly skilled workers that want to pass on their knowledge. Believe me, if you are young, there is no better time to enter our field.

We all need to make a commitment to improve this situation in order to have the resources our community needs to be successful.

I also enjoy reading the paper daily. Thank you for doing so.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am. See you next week!