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Help Wanted: Closing the Skills Gap in the Trades

In the next eight years, there are seven million jobs in the construction industry that will need filling. Here's what we're doing to help.

Get Involved!

This Old House master carpenter Norm Abram often talks about the pleasure of solving a problem, be it perfecting a dovetail or replacing an entire stairway. But here’s a tough job—on a national scale—that has caught Norm’s attention. Millions of jobs in the building trades are going unfilled today because there aren’t enough people with the training to do the jobs. Reports show the problem will get worse.

Solution: Inspire young people to go in to the building trades today, and see the impact throughout the home construction industry tomorrow.

Here’s our approach.

  • Partner with the mikeroweWORKS (MRW) Foundation, a nonprofit started by Dirty Jobs creator Mike Rowe to help close the skills gap .
  • Raise money from companies and trade associations and give all funds to the MRW 2017 Work Ethic Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to people getting trained for skilled jobs that are in demand. To learn more about becoming a sponsor, email
  • Encourage people to apply here for an MRW scholarship.
  • Talk about the issue to raise awareness. Listen to a conversation between Norm Abram and Mike Rowe about the need to inspire young people to go into the building trades.

Sure, it’s a big problem. But when has that ever stopped us? For starters, see our cover story in This Old House magazine, and read about some inspiring people who are already pursuing the building trades.