In 2021, Simpson Strong-Tie partnered with Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley (Habitat EBSV) to create the Construction Trades Support program. The program aims to promote the trades as a viable career path for youth and for other individuals who are currently out of the workforce and to create a pipeline for talent to help alleviate the current labor shortage.
Construction Trades Education (contributing to the quality of construction trades education and the promotion and advancement of the trades), is one of our company’s four key focus areas for social impact/giving back. We collaborated with Habitat for Humanity on creating an agenda for the day that would provide valuable insight into what it’s like to work in the trades.
“We’re proud to be a partner in this innovative endeavor,” said Janice Jensen, president and CEO of Habitat EBSV. “Our sites and workshops offer a real-world, community-centered classroom for Simpson Strong-Tie in its efforts to support the next generation of skilled tradespeople who are so critical to our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”
On October 21, 2021, over 40 students from the City of Berkeley’s YouthWorks job support program gathered at Habitat EBSV’s Oakland warehouse for a day-long event. The day was led by Simpson Strong-Tie Training Manager/Outreach Coordinator Sam Marcoux from our Stockton branch, with an anchor product demo from Senior Territory Sales Rep – Commercial Tom Klisiewicz and a hands-on connector and fastener drilling activity with Territory Manager Derrick Dinelli. The students also heard presentations on soft skills to be better interviewees and employees.
Many of these students hadn’t considered the trades as an option, but after the event, some were very enthusiastic about construction as a viable career path. “My supervisor thought it would be a great opportunity for me to come to, and I jumped at the opportunity. This is great insight on a construction field that I could go into or something that I could pursue, because I like building,” said participant Amiyon Gray.
This year, the program moved to May with new enhancements, including a panel discussion with individuals representing a general contractor, architect and homebuilder, who all have influence on the work of a tradesperson on a jobsite. Participants also got more hands-on with Simpson Strong-Tie products like our Quik Drive® Cordless and joist hangers and screws.
We partnered with Making Waves Academy, a charter school in Richmond, CA, to bring 32 students to the warehouse.
For 2023, we are making the program more interactive and hands-on, and expanding our trade partners to include electrician, HVAC and plumbing work. We are also looking at creating a follow-up event for interested participants to work on a Habitat jobsite and get specifics about how to pursue a career in the trades, along with other resources as they explore this path.
As a general definition, “construction trades” refers to any trade or occupation involving construction, alteration, remodeling, repairing, wrecking or demolition, along with additions or improvements to structures or roadways, or other development. The trades span numerous job roles including carpenters, electricians, HVAC technicians, landscapers, plumbers, welders and more. These can be stable, long-term, lucrative careers that contribute to a high quality of living and improved infrastructure in our communities.
Simpson Strong-Tie aims to provide long-term solutions and serve as a partner with our customers, so addressing the shortage of labor in the trades makes sense for us as a business and helps fulfill our core company values of taking a Long-Range View and Giving Back.
In addition to launching the Construction Trades Support program with Habitat EBSV in 2021, Simpson Strong-Tie formed a strategic alliance with Building Talent Foundation (BTF) to promote the growth of the residential construction industry workforce in the United States. BTF is a nonprofit organization focused on connecting young and underserved people to skilled trades training and career opportunities. The company committed to donating $600,000 over three years to the foundation.
“We look forward to expanding and deepening these programs for those who have expressed interest in pursuing a career in the trades, to help put them on a path for success,” said Simpson Strong-Tie CEO Karen Colonias. “It’s vital that we develop programs and opportunities to support our industry partners and invest in growing the labor pool of talented tradespeople.”
The Construction Trades Support program is meant to serve as a model for other Habitat affiliates around the country who would like to get more individuals interested in the trades, especially students and those who have been out of the workforce for a while. We’re looking forward to improving and growing the program well into the future.
For more information about the program, watch the video below.