Sable Homes president talks to state leaders about need for skilled trades talent | Business
LANSING, Mich.-- Members of the Home Builders Association of Michigan (HBAM) testified in the State House Friday to urge the legislature to find ways to increase the number of workers entering the skilled trades.
“The lack of workers going into the skilled trades is the biggest factor impacting the growth of Michigan’s home building industry,” said John Bitely, president of Sable Homes in Rockford. “The shortage of labor is resulting in construction delays and increased labor costs, and it’s dragging on our state.”
Bitely cited several Michigan laws that make it difficult for home builders to hire young workers and encourage them to look at careers in the construction industry.
“Right now, Michigan law prevents builders from bringing anyone under the age of 18 onto a job site,” said Bitely. “There are lots of high school students who could gain valuable work experience in the building industry over the summer, but the current law forces them into flipping burgers.”
The hearing comes just as HBAM completed its annual member survey. They survey of HBAM’s nearly 4,500 members shows home builders have a positive outlook for 2015. Nearly 90 percent of respondents said Michigan’s residential construction industry is doing much better or better than the previous year. However, the vast majority (71 percent) of HBAM members said the shortage of skilled workers is the biggest issue impacting the state’s home building industry.
“Home builders in Michigan lost 60,000 jobs to the Great Recession. Literally, when the housing industry went south, so too did many of our workers,” said Home Builders Association of Michigan Public Affairs Director Dawn Crandall. “Fortunately, the industry is coming back and there are good paying careers ready to be had. We will be working closely with Michigan policymakers and educators this year to increase the number of high school graduates seeking careers in the home building industry.”
About the HBA of Michigan: The Home Builders Association of Michigan (HBAM) is a professional trade association, chartered in 1948 with the National Association of Home Builders. HBAM is comprised of 26 local home builder associations totaling nearly 4,500 builder/associate members throughout the state. It works positively to promote the building industry and impact legislative, regulatory and legal issues affecting housing affordability.