The greatest resource our industry has is its people and the commitment they have to help others in making the dream of homeownership a reality. However, one of the biggest threats to our industry is the lack of new talent to build a workforce that can fill the growing demand for housing. To help address this problem, we decided to take a different approach for our recent LearnMH webinar on workforce solutions. In addition to engaging industry thought leaders focused on implementing solutions, we invited a representative from outside our industry that has a vested interest in our success.
Jim Ayotte, Executive Director at the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA) is effective at tackling the difficult challenges facing his membership, and attracting new talent to our industry is a priority. To assist in his effort, he brought in Lisa Cashulette, an accomplished project manager recognized for executing and implementing solutions to different industry problems. Logan Hanes, Executive Director for the Kentucky Manufactured Housing Institute (KMHI) has led his association’s efforts in identifying and attracting new talent to his members. Logan launched the ‘Hard Hat Millionaire’ campaign to attract students to the skilled trade professions that our industry needs. Special guest, Mary Taylor is a Training Development Specialist for the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education where she manages the apprenticeship program for the state. As a practitioner in the educational system, her outside industry perspective was valuable.
The highlight of the webinar was the collaborative approach of the guest speakers as they shared insights, experiences, and ideas freely. The talent coming from the skills trade schools is no longer the Millennial generation as the youngest Millennial is now 27 years old. Gen Z is very different from the Millennials in terms of motivation, outlook, and expectations. Successful organizations understand how to reach them, what drives them, and what it takes to hire them. Working with your state director of technical education, or the equivalent is critical to hitting the right students. Having an effective message highlighting the reasons why our industry is where they want to work is important. There’s a significant difference between working in an industry that creates housing for our nation and going to work in a profession that only requires you to pass a drug test. Offering a paid co-operative or apprenticeship is a smart way to acquire a new talent and working with the educational system, will provide an understanding of how it can be done within the labor laws. Events such as K4C (Kentucky for Construction) create the opportunity for students to experience the industry and potential employers to engage the upcoming talent. Leverage industry events, such as the Biloxi Home Show or the Manufactured Housing National Congress & Expo to invite educators, guidance counselors, and prospective talent to meet the industry, experience the homes, and see why our industry is where they want to work.
In addition to the topic of attracting talent coming from technical trade and high schools, our guests highlighted opportunities using incarcerated talent, and veterans transitioning out of military service.
If you’d like more information on the topics discussed, watch our encore presentation of our most recent webinar, A Modern Angle on Workforce Solutions. For more on the latest in the manufactured housing industry, check out our previous webinars.
Sign up for the final webinar of our Shoot for the Moon in 2021 Webinar Series, “Looking Ahead at 2022,” with special guest Elliot Eisenberg, The Bowtie Economist, on Wednesday, December 8th, 2021 at 11 AM PST/2 PM EST.