Leaders across the construction, retail and skilled trades industries have created the Skilled Trades Advisory Council (STAC). In an effort led by NEST, an integrated facilities management company, the goal of STAC is to combat the crisis facing skilled labor in the U.S. and Canada. STAC’s founding advisors will leverage their resources, knowledge and network to elevate the skilled trades as high-paying and honorable career paths, officials said. The trades represented in—and promoted by—the council include construction.

SATC officials point to a report produced by online recruiting platform Handshake showing the application rate for young people seeking technical jobs dropped by 49% in 2022 compared to 2020. Additionally, the committee cites an estimate produced by staffing firm PeopleReady, showing that 40% of the 12 million people in the skilled trades workforce are over the age of 45, with nearly half of those workers over the age of 55. Associated Builders and Contractors reported that the construction industry will need to attract an estimated 546,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2023 to meet the demand for labor.

“The U.S. and Canadian workforces are struggling to fill a massive gap in the skilled trades, and we need to unite as an industry to reverse the trend,” said NEST CEO Rob Almond, who is based in the Philadelphia area. “This group of founding advisors shares that passion across many sectors that make up the industry.”

In addition to Almond, founding STAC advisors include:

  • Sara Angus, director of construction, Starbucks;
  • Julie Starzynski, director of construction and design, Floor & Decor;
  • Andrew Brown, founder and CEO of Toolfetch;
  • Sarah Hammond, owner and president of Atlas and treasurer of Women in HVAC;
  • Kam Washington, owner of PMA Construction;
  • Kate Cinnamo, executive director of Explore the Trades;
  • Mónica Muñoz, senior director of Capital Programs at DaVita Kidney Care; and
  • Mary Gaffney, president of NAWIC Philadelphia Foundation and GEM Mechanical Services.

“I’m encouraged that so many others share my passion for growing the trades and ending the stigma that surrounds jobs in the industry,” said Almond, who spearheaded the initiative. “STAC is a way for many of us to work together and find ways to encourage youth to consider a career in the skilled trades. There are many viable, lucrative and creative opportunities to explore.”

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