The Skilled Labor Fund, designed to address the lack of skilled labor entering the residential construction industry, announced that it has awarded more than $200,000 in grants to 42 local home builder associations across the country to provide skills training to high school students.

The grants are offered in two areas: Building Careers and Career Connections. Building Careers offers support training programs provided largely by the Home Builders Institute. Career Connections funds career fairs and events to present the opportunities young people can pursue in residential construction.

“We are pleased to announce that we have made a substantial investment in the future of the home building industry with skilled workforce development programs,” said Ted Mahoney, a member of the Skilled Labor Fund’s operating committee and chairman-elect of the National Housing Endowment, which is the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) philanthropic arm. “Working with local home builder associations, we can bring the shop back into our high schools and offer career fairs to change lives and create the future workforce for home building.”

These programs will take place over the next two years and impact an estimated 24,000 students across the country. “This initiative was made possible through a partnership with NAHB and the generous gifts of our donors and partners. It is a great start and we need to do more,” said Rick Judson, chair of the Endowment.

NAHB CEO Jerry Howard added, “The workforce shortage problem is shared by consumers and builders alike in the form of less supply, higher prices and longer lead times to complete new homes and remodeling projects.”

“The backbone of our industry is skilled labor,” said Bill Darcy, CEO of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and member of the Skilled Labor Fund’s operating committee. “Without a skilled workforce, we will not be able to provide housing to meet American’s demand. We are enormously grateful to the Endowment for its grant to the local homebuilder associations.”

The Skilled Labor Fund, managed by the Endowment, is a partnership of NAHB, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, NKBA, SGC Horizon and Hydrogen Advertising. The Fund focuses solely on skilled labor for the residential market.

“The Skilled Labor Fund continues to expand our investment in the next generation of workers,” said Tony Mancini, Principal at SGC Horizon. “This is addressing the number one issue for builders today, and continued support of the fund is critical to the health of the residential construction market.”

For more information, visit skilledlaborfund.org.