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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Going PRO, skills foundation combine efforts to build awareness and address skilled-labor shortage

Release Date:

Thursday, July 11, 2019


CONTACT: Camara Lewis, 517-930-4928

S2B CONTACT: Dawn Crandall, 517-803-6460

LANSING, Mich.—There are roughly 132 career paths in the home building industry, and the Talent and Economic Development (Ted) Department of Michigan and Skilled to Build Michigan Foundation have a vested interest in preparing students for high-wage, high-demand 21st-century careers, and build homes for 10 million Michiganders.

For several years the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Michigan has been building awareness around the growing need for skilled labor in the workforce. In light of those efforts, the HBA established the Skilled to Build Michigan Foundation, a non-profit that works daily to generate awareness of the good paying, highly-rewarding opportunities available in this state.

Similarly, the state’s largest education and awareness effort the Going PRO campaign aims to recruit and retain skilled-labor, ultimately addressing Michigan’s shortage in Professional Trades talent. Campaign messaging focuses on changing dated perceptions about Professional Trades, as well as inspire students, their parents and other influencers to consider choosing these “new collar” careers, many of which are available through little to no student debt.

“There is an increasing demand to close the skills gap in Michigan, and programs such as this one help stretch our message to communities across the state,” Stephanie Beckhorn, Talent and Economic Development (Ted) Department of Michigan acting director said. “It’s up to all of us including teachers, counselors, parents and other influencers to encourage the next generation of talent to seek training and educational opportunities that will lead Michigan’s youth to fill the estimated 545,000 Professional Trades jobs coming open through 2026.”

Michigan’s ability to find highly-skilled builders is becoming increasingly difficult as the home building and remodeling market grows and baby boomers retire, HBA sites the lack of talent to fill jobs as a key concern.

“At the Skilled to Build Michigan Foundation we’ve been working diligently to promote and inform students about the lucrative careers in building trades,” said Dawn Crandall, foundation executive director. “Many of the students we interact with are unaware they can make a good livable wage allowing them to be homeowners themselves as 20-year-olds. We have seen a lot of positive change through our statewide network of educators helping to mentor this upcoming generation of talent, however, there’s still work to be done.”

With the housing market on the rise, vast opportunities open up for careers in construction from plumbers, electricians and millwrights to carpenters, engineering technicians and welders. An excellent way to expose students to these careers is through career and technical education, a hands-on learning experience offered at technical campuses across the state.

The foundation advocates for expanding CTE programs to high school age students, but also assists veterans with identifying programs they can utilize to get trained for the numerous building trades career paths. In 2018, Skilled to Build issued a veteran’s guidebook as a leading resource for returning veterans interested in entering the skilled trades, which includes an occupation appendix that outlines job growth data, salary and training information.

Additional information about the Skilled to Build Michigan Foundation and their guidebooks can be found at

Visit to learn more about the available Professional Trades jobs across the state including those in the construction industry.