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Laura
Skilled labor shortage in the building industry

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Fencepost
Re: Skilled labor shortage in the building industry

A few years ago, I heard a statistic that the average stonemason in Washington state was over 70 years old.

What we can infer from this is that there is or soon will be a severe shortage of skilled stonemasons. Stonemasonry is art combined with hard, heavy work. If there is such a shortage, then the demand for stonemasons may become so high that stonemasonry will be a very lucrative field.

It's not just stonemasonry, there are many specialized trades in the construction industry that are woefully understaffed; many of these jobs are becoming very lucrative.

We need to get out the message that a rewarding job can be found in the construction trades, and that those jobs can be rewarding both financially and mentally. Yes, many of them may require hard physical labor, but modern machinery takes away much of that labor. Where the mental (or emotional) reward comes is not in working hard, but in creating something; in being able to drive by a completed project and saying "I built that."

Personally, I am no longer in the construction industry, but I look back on my time there positively. I don't regret spending time in construction; in fact, I think in some ways it helped prepare me for my current career in the tech industry. Construction teaches process using real, physical object lessons that can't be easily taught in the abstract world of most classroom education. One can learn concepts in construction that apply to any other career.

I've often said that an engineering students should be required to spend time hands-on in their chosen fields. That means that mechanical engineering students should spend time building and repairing machines; chemical engineers should spend time as operators in chemical plants; electrical engineers should serve as apprentices under journeyman electricians, linemen, or in electronics manufacturing and repair; civil engineers should spend time working in the construction trades. If these students spend this practical time in their field of choice, I think it would result in better product design that is easier and cheaper to build and maintain because they will have seen the practical implementation of design.

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Since I've got your ear...

On a completely unrelated note, you might notice that the traffic on this This Old House forum has practically died off. That's because when you redesigned the This Old House website, you moved the link to the forum from the front page to somewhere several pages deep (and the link isn't really obvious that it's a link to this forum). Only by luck did anyone new find the forum. Because of the precipitous drop in traffic, nearly all of the regular contributors left feeling that the This Old House management didn't care about the forum. Would it be that hard to add a link to the "MORE" button on the top banner?

For many years, the regulars have felt that TOH didn't care, from the ridiculous "bad word" filter that blocked words like o-n-l-i-n-e and s-c-r-a-p-e-r (because it has the word "r-a-p-e" in it) to the almost total lack of any kind of moderation and spam control (and zero participation by any TOH staff) to the inability to post images (even though the option was there).

I can only say you really blew it with the forum. Burying the link several pages deep was just the last straw. It's going to be really hard for TOH to breathe life back into it, as you're probably going to have to build up a whole new cadre of "regulars". The ones who left stuck around for as long as they did because they were professionals in the construction trades who really enjoyed imparting their years of acquired knowledge to those who came seeking advice.

Please read this thread to gain an understanding of the forum users' frustrations: I thought the Board was a goner for sure. Correcting the deficiencies and then offering a sincere apology to the regulars might bring some of them back.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Skilled labor shortage in the building industry
Fencepost wrote:

I can only say you really blew it with the forum. Burying the link several pages deep was just the last straw. It's going to be really hard for TOH to breathe life back into it, as you're probably going to have to build up a whole new cadre of "regulars". The ones who left stuck around for as long as they did because they were professionals in the construction trades who really enjoyed imparting their years of acquired knowledge to those who came seeking advice.

Please read this thread to gain an understanding of the forum users' frustrations: I thought the Board was a goner for sure. Correcting the deficiencies and then offering a sincere apology to the regulars might bring some of them back.

AMEN!

If you have any interest at all in promoting the trades there is no better way to achieve that than by restoring this forum to it's well-earned and rightful prominence on the TOH website, where we can once again show others how interesting, intriguing, and enjoyable old houses can be to work on and learn about. It has been our lives and we once could share this freely which we did, but somebody who lacks our level of understanding has swept hundreds of years combined experience under the rug in preference to someone who can't even come close to matching that.

There's more to this than the site visits, post numbers, and web statistics. You cannot properly manage that which you do not understand. Houzz, you're failing here and badly so.

Phil

Deron
Re: Skilled labor shortage in the building industry

Unfortunately the skilled labor becomes tired of the unskilled management and moves onto other things.  Just an observation in some cases.
Thanks.

 

 

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