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Kansas program aims to alleviate construction labor shortage

The Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City (HBA), in partnership with the local Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) chapter and Workforce Partnership, received a $200,000 state grant to train inmates with the skills needed to start a career in the construction industry when they re-enter the workforce, according to www.contractorsupplymagazine.com.

The partnership created a six-week training program for individuals in the Johnson County Department of Corrections Adult Residential Center. The first training program began March 5 with about 15 students. Once training is completed and the individuals become employed, up to 50 percent of their salaries during the first six weeks of on-the-job training also will be paid for.

"The HBA has created a multi-pronged approach to address the shortage, and we are excited to partner with ABC and Workforce Partnership to roll out this program as one facet of that initiative," says HBA Executive Vice President Josh Clark.

To learn more about the state of skilled labor in its local construction industry, the HBA conducted a workforce demographic survey of its members in 2017. It also reached out to the county contractor licensing department to include subcontractors. The results showed local employers needed a training facility for the skilled trades. The study was included in the grant proposal and was crucial to securing funding for the training program.

"We started our workforce initiative last summer by working with NAHB to create a strategic plan, and we immediately began executing that plan," Clark says. "Eight months later, we are about to start our first training program. It took hard work from several members of our staff who dedicated a lot of their time to implementing that strategy, but it's meeting a vital need that can't be ignored."


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