What are you doing to remodel workforce development?

Peter Pagenstecher, CR, president of Pagenstecher Group Inc., based in Kensington, Md., believes the remodeling industry is facing major challenges because of a depleted skilled workforce.

“By and large, there is a diminishing number of qualified tradespeople in our industry, and we need to be reaching out to younger generations to expose them to this career path,” Pagenstecher says.

Recent attempts to find skilled labor has placed this issue as one of most significant challenges faced by his business today. As his employees age and retire, his ability to find qualified people to replace them has become more difficult.

“I’ve posted advertisements, I’ve reached out to local vocational programs in high schools, and there’s just not enough interest,” he says. With some possibility that the high cost of living in Washington, D.C., may be driving skilled tradesmen outside of his immediate work area, there is no doubt that the issue is happening nationwide to some degree.

Pagenstecher’s goal is not only to expose younger generations to the skilled trades and design professions but also to dispel myths that remodeling is an undesirable, back-breaking career choice. “A master carpenter with a creative mind and skill can earn a very good living,” he says.

Show and tell

Like most children, an early exposure to a hobby or activity could leave a lasting impression.

Mike Ullrich, architect at Pagenstecher Group based in Kensington, Md., shows a fifth-grade Boy Scouts group how to read design plans and apply them to the construction process.

Mike Ullrich, architect at Pagenstecher Group based in Kensington, Md., shows a fifth-grade Boy Scouts group how to read design plans and apply them to the construction process.

Knowing this, Pagenstecher welcomed an opportunity to get in front of a group of fifth-grade Boy Scouts.

One of Pagenstecher’s vendors asked him to host his son’s Boy Scouts group, as part of a program designed to introduce them to different professions and careers.

He enlisted Mike Ullrich, Pagenstecher Group’s in-house architect, to plan the event around an introduction to architecture and construction. During the event, Ullrich passed around examples of design plans and taught the group how to read the plans and apply them to the construction process.

The group also received scale rulers to teach them about the tools architect’s use to read plans and convert them to real-life measurements.

Finally, Ullrich put the children to work, by having them design their own house. “Their designs were off the charts—some were drawing circles, and others had homes next to a lake,” Pagenstecher says.

“From a personal standpoint, [when I was younger] I had no idea how people could make money in remodeling, and you never know what will influence someone,” he says.

Mike Ullrich, architect at Pagenstecher Group based in Kensington, Md., poses with a fifth-grade Boy Scouts group as they hold up their scale rulers passed out at a residential design and architecture career event.

Mike Ullrich, architect at Pagenstecher Group based in Kensington, Md., poses with a fifth-grade Boy Scouts group as they hold up their scale rulers passed out at a residential design and architecture career event.

Apprentice drop-outs

In search of the next new master carpenter, Pagenstecher always seeks out a young person to add to his field staff. Although his master carpenters are not trained instructors, they teach and assist apprentices as best they can without derailing their work.

It has become a fine line between the time and efforts placed on training an apprentice, who suddenly realizes that carpentry isn’t for them.

“Not everyone is willing to put forth the time and effort it takes to become a skilled tradesman,” he says. “It’s a combination of the right attitude, willingness to learn and skill.”

With several failed apprenticeships under his belt, it’s a frustration with no alternative. He’s tried to curve this trend by incorporating salary increases with written and physical skill tests, but he believes the problem may be part of a larger issue in generational mindset. “They [younger generations] think that if they show up for a few months they are capable of running a job.”

Pagenstecher says lack of education in skilled trades and unrealistic expectations are what makes the apprenticeship process more difficult for remodelers compared with other industries.

Still, for the sake of his business and an industry he loves, Pagenstecher will continue to do his part when it comes to growing the skilled workforce in remodeling. –Morgan Zenner

Are you doing your part in remodeling workforce development? Share what you and your chapter are doing to introduce skilled trades and remodeling to the younger generations at marketing@nari.org. NARI offers a Career Path for Residential Remodeling that illustrates the various entry points into the remodeling industry and the jobs you can expect to have throughout your career. You can view that on NARI’s Website: www.nari.org/workforcedevelopment.

| 2/18/2013 12:00:00 AM | 1 comments
Add Blogs to RSS FeedAdd Blogs to RSS Feed

Recent posts

No recent posts

Post archive

August 2022(1)
June 2022(2)
May 2022(2)
April 2022(2)
March 2022(3)
February 2022(1)
January 2022(5)
October 2021(2)
August 2021(3)
July 2021(1)
June 2021(2)
May 2021(1)
March 2021(2)
February 2021(1)
December 2020(1)
November 2020(2)
October 2020(2)
September 2020(3)
July 2020(3)
May 2020(2)
March 2020(2)
January 2020(2)
November 2019(1)
October 2019(4)
September 2019(3)
August 2019(3)
July 2019(5)
June 2019(3)
May 2019(5)
February 2019(3)
January 2019(3)
December 2018(1)
November 2018(3)
October 2018(2)
September 2018(3)
August 2018(3)
July 2018(4)
June 2018(6)
May 2018(3)
April 2018(2)
March 2018(3)
February 2018(1)
January 2018(1)
November 2017(4)
October 2017(5)
September 2017(6)
August 2017(4)
July 2017(2)
June 2017(2)
May 2017(4)
April 2017(6)
March 2017(3)
February 2017(6)
January 2017(6)
December 2016(3)
November 2016(4)
October 2016(8)
September 2016(5)
August 2016(3)
June 2016(3)
May 2016(5)
April 2016(4)
March 2016(5)
February 2016(4)
January 2016(4)
December 2015(3)
November 2015(4)
October 2015(9)
August 2015(4)
July 2015(3)
June 2015(7)
May 2015(2)
April 2015(5)
March 2015(9)
February 2015(6)
January 2015(7)
December 2014(2)
November 2014(7)
October 2014(5)
September 2014(3)
August 2014(5)
July 2014(6)
June 2014(7)
May 2014(3)
April 2014(5)
March 2014(8)
February 2014(7)
January 2014(7)
December 2013(6)
November 2013(8)
October 2013(5)
September 2013(4)
August 2013(4)
July 2013(6)
June 2013(8)
May 2013(8)
April 2013(15)
March 2013(6)
February 2013(11)
January 2013(8)
December 2012(6)
November 2012(7)
October 2012(20)
September 2012(14)
August 2012(6)
March 2012(4)
January 2012(1)
April 2011(2)