Florida reBuilds to address labor needs

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  • | 12:00 p.m. February 9, 2006
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With the Florida Homes Builders Association’s support, Florida is stepping up to the plate to help meet our industry’s need for construction labor.

FHBA President Len Tylka joined Lt. Governor Toni Jennings last month as she announced the creation of Florida reBuilds – an initiative to counter the growing shortage of construction workers and assist the state in the recovery from devastating hurricanes. 

The program combines the resources of the State’s Workforce and Education systems and will train and recruit workers through the Employ Florida network of One-Stop Centers. 

“Even before hurricanes caused significant property damage in our state, we were experiencing a shortage of workers in the construction field,” said Jennings.  “The continued recovery from the last two hurricane seasons and the continued expansion of Florida’s booming economy depends upon having an adequate supply of skilled trades workers to meet the demand.  In meeting that demand, we are also creating employment opportunities for many Floridians whose jobs have been affected by the hurricanes.”

Florida’s strong new construction market, coupled with the repair and rebuild needs left in the wake of two back-to-back devastating hurricane seasons, has the need for skilled workers is at its greatest levels.

While FHBA and its Foundation working to educate young people about the industry through the Future Builders of America program and through continuing education scholarships, the industry is still falling short of much needed skilled labor.

In October, the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation identified 13,712 available construction jobs needing to be filled by qualified applicants. More than 2,000 of those positions were for carpenters. The average pay for all of these positions combined was iover $30,000 a year.

In the wake of so many destructive hurricanes, Floridians need thousands of homes built or repaired. Businesses need their operations fully restored. And expanding businesses, or new-to-Florida companies, need assurance that necessary capital infrastructure can be built in a timely manner so as not to impede competition.

Funded with $6 million in existing Workforce Florida funds, the Florida reBuilds initiative will initially provide short-term, entry-level training for up to 4,000 individuals statewide, enabling them to enter into the construction trades with emphasis on the attainment of an industry-recognized credential.  

Training will be available for trades such as roofing, masonry, carpentry, concrete finishers, plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), electricity and heavy equipment operations.  

The initiative will also provide advanced training to up to 1,000 existing workers in the industry enabling them to acquire additional skills and certifications to advance in the industry.  

To ensure a continued adequate supply of skilled trades workers, Gov. Jeb Bush and Jennings will recommend $12 million in the 2006-2007 budget for continuation of the program, providing the funding necessary to train an additional 6,000 individuals. 

Candidates for Florida reBuilds will be registered and enrolled through the Employ Florida network of One-Stop Centers and employers will use the network to hire workers at no cost. 

Training will be designed and developed by the Florida Department of Education in conjunction with industry groups in the state and will be conducted by Florida’s workforce system, state universities, community colleges, vocational technical centers and independent workforce training providers.

More information about Florida rebuilds can be found at www.employflorida.com or by calling 1-866-FLA-2345.



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