Nearly 200 students from 8 schools, 50 volunteers, builders and trade contractors, 27 sponsors and 5 jobsites. That’s the short success story of the Metropolitan Builders Association’s (MBA) 2017 Career Day!

As construction professionals, we all know that the industry faces a major labor threat. Builder confidence is at an all time high since 1999, and yet, trade contractor partners struggle to find qualified hands to build the homes that consumers are demanding.

But what started as a single, stand alone event for the MBA in 2017 has catapulted into a much more exciting effort for 2018 and beyond. The Association is launching a new Building Trades Council, expanding Career Day and other labor development opportunities.

In 2018, the Council intends to expand Career Day to two sites and anticipates doubling the students, builders and job sites from 2017. They also are working on creating member education, expanding the hiring resources for MBA members. School and community outreach initiatives in the works include a Speakers Bureau, coordination with local scholarship programs, participation in job and career fairs, as well as education for teachers and school counselors.

And finally, Council members know that the challenge isn’t just about getting in front of students who are considering a career in the trades. It’s about reaching the parents…a generation who’s well-meaning “go to college mentality” is hard to break.

We know we can’t solve the labor shortage issue, but we know we can make an impact here in Southeast Wisconsin,” states Heather Mangold, Chair of the newly formed MBA Council. “As we launch this new initiative, we are really focusing on two things: program sustainability and avoiding duplication of other community efforts. Many of these programs are driven by volunteers and sponsors, so we are focusing on priorities that fit our core purposes while trying to be a connector of existing programs.

What mom and dad need to understand is that a career in the trades is an amazing opportunity. It’s not about being ‘at-risk’ or not ‘college material.’ Those are stigmas that couldn’t be further from the truth. As a trade contractor and business owner, I know that this is not only a rewarding, demanding, and financially stable career…but one that any parent should be proud of for their child,” shares Ryan Krueger, Vice-Chair of the Council.

As the Council gears up for 2018, focusing on student, parent and educator outreach is not just an initiative…it’s a passion. With nearly 40 individuals on the Council roster and the support of dozens of corporate sponsors, it will be exciting to see what they can accomplish!