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In the last three months, job openings in construction and related fields have jumped from 92,000 to over 130,000 (according to eyeonhousing.org). Luckily, we have hundreds of qualified graduates ready to snatch up those jobs.
In 2006, PBA created a program for Pennsylvania’s trade schools called the Endorsed Trade Program (ETP). Through this program, high school graduates gain more credibility in the industry of their choice, while builders and contractors are provided with a highly skilled workforce. In order to become certified by PBA, the trade schools must apply and complete a thorough evaluation process.
Many of the local home builder associations are already heavily involved in their school’s ETP, whether they’re looking for part-time help, interns, or full-time employees. “Some members find great summer help while they observe the students in the shop area, during on-site projects, or senior testing. They know that the students have passed their safety instructions and are able to go right on the job using all of the necessary tools learned in school,” says Dick Clawson, Executive Officer of the Indiana-Armstrong Builders Association (IABA).
Programs are endorsed in a variety of trades, such as Building Construction, HVAC, Masonry, Painting and Decorating, and Electrical Technology (to see a full list, go to pbaendorsedtrade.org). At the end of their program, students can take the NOCTI test (National Occupation Competency Testing Institute) to assess their training and knowledge in their chosen field. If they receive a satisfactory or advanced score, they are awarded a certificate stating that they are a graduate of an ETP and are supported by PBA. For the 2013-2014 school year, PBA proudly awarded over 490 students with certificates.
The goal is not only to produce more competent graduates, but also to connect PBA members with their local trade schools, so they can hire the graduates after they complete their exams. There are many success stories that come out of these programs. Dwight McCullough, a member of the IABA and owner of McCullough Electric and Security, can speak to these successes, as he has recently hired graduates from the Indiana County Technology Center (ICTC). “They are extremely competent, trained well, and do the most important thing: read the instructions!” says McCullough. “They are not afraid to tackle any task thrown at them."
So what are the advantages to hiring endorsed graduates? Timothy Bash, a carpentry instructor at ICTC, believes that because these programs are created and driven by the employers, they are better for training students in what they will need to know in today’s workforce. Many employers even come directly to the tech centers to look for employees. “The tech center is constantly looking for support from the local industry. This allows us to train the students in the current industry movements,” says Bash.
PBA members have direct access to contact local graduates by logging into the Members section of PBA's website or clicking here.
About PBA Endorsed Trade Program
The PBA Endorsed Trade Program is proudly sponsored by the PA Foundation for Housing, Inc. There are many ways to get involved and make valuable contributions that will support our future workforce. Please go to pafoundationforhousing.org/support for more information.