A red-hot housing market, an aging workforce and demand for services are prompting an unprecedented crisis in home and business construction in New Hampshire. More than 30,000 construction-related jobs are currently vacant in the state, with a shortage of skilled workers to perform essential services like carpentry, masonry, electrical work and plumbing.
To address this ongoing issue, New Hampshire PBS and the Associated Builders and Contractors of NH/VT are partnering to raise awareness about the skilled trades. I BUILD NH uses videos and educational materials to encourage students and young adults to consider careers in the trades.
“It’s a crisis of epic proportions. You need hospitals to be built or expanded, you need homes to be built, roofs to be replaced,” said Joshua Reap, president & CEO of ABC of NH/VT. “It will get done, but it will take longer because there’s just not enough people to do it.”
Phase one of the I BUILD NH campaign included six three-to four-minute videos highlighting trade professionals working in construction, masonry, plumbing, carpentry, equipment operation and welding.
Phase two featured 20- to 30-minute instructional videos geared toward educators and students. Trade professionals discuss what a typical day looks like and the required tools and skills. Videos are accompanied by curriculum materials, including lesson plans and related content about the environment, math and science.
“There are a multitude of opportunities and career paths,” says Jennifer Landon, vice president of Education and Workforce Development at ABC of NH/VT. “You can start as a laborer and then expand into a specialization like dry wall or painting or electrical.”
Training is often paid by employers, as trade professions require continued professional development, and there is a higher degree of pay parity. “We actively work to get more people – immigrants, refugee populations, women – into the field,” added Landon.
While the I BUILD NH project originated in New Hampshire, the long form videos are housed in the PBS LearningMedia national learning portal, allowing any teacher in the country to utilize the materials.
NHPBS director of production services Ben Sparling says the project perfectly aligns with NHPBS’ core values of inspiring lifelong learning. “I love this project because I think it’s where we are moving as a society,” said Sparling. “We need to start honoring these trades and the important role they play in helping our society function.”
For the next phase, Sparling says the partners are looking at incorporating virtual reality and creating content around new sectors, including hospitality, information technology, healthcare and manufacturing.
About New Hampshire PBS: New Hampshire PBS inspires one million Granite Staters each month with engaging and trusted local and national programs and services on-air, online, via mobile, in classrooms and in communities. Beyond its award-winning television programs, New Hampshire PBS is a leader in education and community engagement. www.nhpbs.org
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