Workforce shortages have become a reality for almost every industry. The decline in birth rates in 10 of the late 11 years suggest the challenge to find qualified talent will only continue to increase. In the United States, the manufacturing industry is 2.4 million workers short, and studies suggest that number won’t improve until 2028. Healthcare will add approximately 2.4 million jobs by 2026, and the construction industry is missing 25% of the workforce needed. In 2021, there will be one worker for every two jobs in the U.S.

Kurt Scepaniak, the owner at Horizon Roofing, complained about the worker shortage for years, until one day, he decided to do something to change it. He and his team took a look at the state of current training methods, specifically in construction, and concluded that traditional training is outdated, leads to higher turnover rates, and is too slow to keep up with the current labor shortage, much less get ahead of it.

When it comes to the existing training systems, the Horizon team compare it to the phonebook – remember those big thick paper things that took two trees to make? They found it ironic that we, as a society, are more advanced than ever, but when it comes to training, we are living in the Stone Age, still using “phonebooks.” Scepaniak and his team believe the opportunity for innovation in the construction training space is significant, and if companies don’t embrace it, they will continue to shrink in size, or worse, no longer have the capacity to stay in business.

In 2017, as a way to proactively attack the labor shortage, Horizon opened two training centers in Minnesota. The centers were specifically built for current and future employees of Horizon Roofing. Together, these two training centers take up about 5,500-sq. ft. of training space, making it the largest commercial roofing training space in Minnesota.

Starting a training center wasn’t easy for Horizon. It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but it has been well worth it. Four factors aided their decision to start an in-house training program:

  1. JOB SCOPE: No longer having to say ‘No’ to a job because of a lack of employees.
  2. STRONGER EMPLOYEES: Trainees have the opportunity to make mistakes and learn what not to do before being on the roof.
  3. PRIORITIES: Having a training center allows employees to learn one-on-one or in a small group until they get it right.
  4. HIRING PROCESS: New employees are able to test their skills to ensure the right people are on a roof.

Horizon Roofing spent years developing their training program and hiring process because it’s an essential step in their employee’s journey. Salary and benefits can only go so far, what makes a great company today are opportunities for growth and positive culture. Show your employees you care, give them opportunities, help them navigate success, and you’ll reap the rewards.