Scouting Students for the Skilled Trades

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All photos courtesy Melinda Howard

Img 0811While the pool and spa industry has long been concerned with labor shortages, over the past few years, amid the global pandemic, the need to find workers has become critical. Even more important is the need to find the next generation of workers, as much of the current workforce is closing in on retirement.

The Future Builders of America is working hard to combat the challenge of recruiting — and educating — young talent for the skilled trades. The organization works to promote the construction industry, and related fields, as a great career opportunity to Florida’s future employees by linking with students in area schools. The students engage in educational activities, which help them to understand the abundant opportunities in trades, as well as improve their leadership and teamwork skills.

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Most recently, Future Builders of America held its 17th Annual Leadership Summit in Haines City, Fla. Eighty students from 13 schools across Florida participated in a number of core activities related to jobs in the construction industry. Core classes included carpentry, electrical, plumbing, landscaping, screen enclosures, swimming pools and more.

Rick Howard, owner of Rick’s Pool Service, Clearwater, Fla., and education chairman for the Florida Swimming Pool Association, was one of 60 adult volunteers onsite to participate in the Summit and lend his expertise to area students. “The pool industry in Florida is expanding exponentially,” says Howard. “We are facing a serious help shortage and must work on finding the next generation of workers for our industry — and invest in the organizations that are helping to direct young people into the trades. I enjoy working with these organizations, sharing my experiences in the industry, and teaching the students about pools.”

Plans are already underway for next year’s FBA Leadership Summit, scheduled for April 20-23, 2023.

This article first appeared in the July 2022 issue of AQUA Magazine — the top resource for retailers, builders and service pros in the pool and spa industry. Subscriptions to the print magazine are free to all industry professionals. Click here to subscribe.

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