January 20, 2017
Just back from KBIS (the Kitchen and Bath show in Orlando), and I was struck by how overwhelmingly positive and optimistic the mood was. I met three business owners who have businesses that are unable to keep up with all the requests they are getting for their home improvement services because of the shortage of skilled labor. All three of them said that when they find an ambitious young person, straight out of high school, they can launch them on a high-paying career, making six-figures after three years. That’s not bad for a kid fresh out of high school. I joked with them “but, there is one thing that those kids don’t have that the college graduate has: Debt.” For many young people, the university route is the path for them, but it is great to see just how bright someone’s prospects can be if they do not choose that route. We talked about the need to get the word out that these kinds of opportunities exist, and about This Old House’s GenerationNext program, and how that can help young people to get scholarships and training. A job in construction can lead to a managerial position within a couple of years, and that is a great path toward owning their own business, a goal that appeals to many millennials. Here is a link to the HomeAdvisor study on the labor shortage, which I discussed in one of the panel discussions at KBIS.