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The labor shortage in the construction industry is one of the biggest drivers of rising construction costs—which some reports estimate have increased 30% year-over-year. The labor shortage impacts both new development and redevelopment projects in commercial and residential markets. Now, the industry is starting to respond to the problem. The National Kitchen and Bath Association is the latest organization to take a step toward closing that gap. It recently hosted the #NextUp event in Las Vegas, hosting graduating high school students to introduce the career opportunities in construction.

“We have done a fair amount of studies in the fall last year, and the data was very specific and allowed us to develop a strategy to support closing this gap ourselves,” Bill Darcy, CEO of NKBA, tells GlobeSt.com. “One of the things that was pointed coming out of our study was 74% of members reported that it has been difficult to recruit of hire skilled trade over the last 12 months. Even more so, 48% of members said that it is difficult to recruit or hire with the professional trade, such as designers and architects.”

The #NextUp event included a panel about the industry and meet-and-greets with industry professionals. Student outreach has been an essential part of the firm’s strategy to address the labor shortage. “Bringing the students was an important part of our strategy,” says Darcy. “We want to showcase the exciting parts of the industry to young people. Young people want a less physically demanding job, tech oriented jobs, jobs that pay well, and we are dispelling myths about the industry. Particularly, tech is very involved in the design and construction space. We want to be a part of the conversation about what lucrative careers are available, and we continue to try to create partnerships within the industry.”

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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