Building industry prepares workforce for green home construction
If you’re thinking about building your dream green home, rest assured the home-construction industry is preparing as well.
New construction training programs, with an emphasis on green building technology and techniques, are coming to the market just in time to train the next generation of skilled craftsmen. The Home Builders Institute, the workforce development arm of the National Association of Home Builders, is rolling out new training materials, including text books and online testing materials, for use in programs from high school to community college to the apprenticeship level.
“All the programs are based on industry standards, created by practitioners ratherthan educators,” said Fred N. Humphreys, president and chief executive officer of HBI.
The demand for green home construction training is growing. Humphreys noted that HBI is the largest Job Corps trainer in the United States in residential construction, with 167 sites in 40 states that teach skills in eight craft areas.
In addition to the traditional building crafts such as plumbing, electrical wiring and HVAC, the HBI will roll out in 2012 training guides for solar installation, weatherization and green home remodeling.
Depending on where a student in enrolled, the institution may offer dual enrollment programs that offer community college credit along with apprenticeship training.
Training also will be available for current workers in the construction industry to upgrade their skills for green building techniques. Humphreys pointed out that homebuilders are having finding a shortage of trained workers in skilled trades such as electrical wiring, HVAC and plumbing, which could be a problem when demand for new homes and green remodeling kicks in.
“As the weatherization market grows, there will be a huge demand and you can’t take someone of the streets and do these skilled jobs,” he said.
Humphreys predicts green building may go away in a few years – not the philosophy, merely the name.
“We think in a few years we will simply be building for energy efficiency and will be integrated into everything we do in the industry,” he said.
Gary Wollenhaupt is an experienced writer and editor, with a background as a daily newspaper reporter as well as corporate and agency public relations and marketing. He is constantly looking for affordable green upgrades to make to his home in eastern Kentucky.www