By Dani Sheehan.
The yearly SkillsUSA Championship is designed to prepare the next generation of America’s skilled labor, and historically has had a great representation of construction and architecture. However, the roofing industry is a relatively new component to what’s represented in construction. In Season 5, Episode 31 of Roofing Road Trips, Heidi J. Ellsworth sits down with John Esbenshade of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) to discuss the 2023 SkillsUSA Championship and the evolution of roofing representation in this competition.
John is currently the director of workforce development for the NRCA and explains, “My day in and day out is trying to address the workforce shortage facing the future of the roofing industry.” In this role, he’s seen an incredibly motivated industry with high energy and collaboration, and SkillsUSA is no different. Over the last three or four years, there’s been a big push to emphasize roofing in the construction industry side of events.
To get involved with SkillsUSA, it’s important to connect with Career and Technical Education (CTE) schools in your state. This can often be the hardest relationship to establish, but as John explains, it is exactly the reason roofing is so well represented this year and in the coming years. Sherri Miles with Miles Roofing in Virginia is considered one of the founders in this area. She established a direct relationship with CTE schools in her area and “she was just trying to get roofing involved in those schools. And through determination and consistency, being really two of my favorite characteristics for Sherri, they started to see that Sherri was the real deal.”
This year, they had four states compete during the championship, and while John was a little disappointed there weren’t more states represented, he says, “We’re hoping that we start to generate enough interest where teachers and students come by, and we give them the opportunity to do some of this work hands-on.” He’s so sure they’ll agree it’s a fantastic industry to grow into: “Now go and tell your teacher you want to learn commercial roofing, because this is really the guts of the contest.”
SkillsUSA Championship will be held in June 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. Listen to the full podcast episode or read the transcript to learn more about how you can get involved and create a team of your own to share your excitement for the roofing industry.
Learn more about National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) in their Coffee Shop Directory or visit www.nrca.net.
Dani is a writer for the Coffee Shops and AskARoofer™. When she's not writing or researching, she's training for trail races and working on her yoga teaching certification.
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