As the labor shortage continues to hinder hiring for many window and door, and glass and glazing companies across the U.S., employers are looking at ways to increase interest and knowledge of skilled trades in schools.

WorkingNation, a national non-profit campaign, has released a mini-documentary called “Building a Strong Foundation: SkillsUSA Prepares the American Workforce.” It focuses on how SkillsUSA, a career and technical student organization, is working to ensure that the U.S. has a skilled workforce through its SkillsUSA TeamWorks competition.

The five-minute documentary follows 20-year-old Logan Thomas and others as they learn and practice in-demand trade skills as part of the competition. SkillsUSA has partnered with education and industry leaders to equip more than 13 million people with the skills and experience necessary to become competitively employed in highly technical trade and service jobs.

SkillsUSA has 102 competitions, which fall under 11 sectors including construction and manufacturing. Competitions under those categories include automated manufacturing technology, CNC technician and architectural drafting.

“We have a job to do with parents. We have a job to do with counselors. We have a job to do with the general public and even the news media to inform people that these job exist,” said SkillsUSA executive director Tim Lawrence in the video. “They’re well paid, they’ll support your family and your community, and they’re technical.”

According to the Q2 2018 Commercial Construction Index from USG Corporation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, nearly two-thirds of trade contractors report difficulty finding skilled workers, compared to 48 percent of general contractors.

Congress recently passed a bill into law that will boost career and technical education in schools by easing state and local requirements. SkillsUSA is just one program available for students to become connected with the skills trades. One aim of the documentary is to show employers that schools can be a viable resource for the skilled workers currently missing in the job market.

Dustin Anderson, president of Anderson Glass in Waco, Texas, is an advocate of window, door and glazing companies reaching out to schools.

“Companies should ask their local schools if they can take part in their career day. They need to ask early before all of the spots are filled up,” he says. “I tell students that college isn’t for everyone, just like it wasn’t for me. It’s important to tell them about the opportunities out there to learn a trade that is cool and fun, not repetitive. I tell them about the interesting technology they can work with as a glazier, such as switchable glass, to make it interesting for them.”

The documentary is part of WorkingNation’s “Do Something Awesome” series, consisting of mini-documentaries that shine a light on programs across the country working to prepare Americans for jobs of the future.

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