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NKBA initiative to focus on industry awareness, education

Hoping to build a stronger workforce in the design and construction industry, the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) has launched the NextUp Workforce Initiative. The multi-tiered program will aim to recruit and motivate individuals of younger generations for careers in the trades while addressing issues thought to discourage or hinder them.

According to the NKBA, about 750,000 jobs are expected to open in the design and construction industry through 2026 and that currently, hundreds of thousands of jobs are currently going unfulfilled each month in the U.S. NKBA members have reported that a stagnant workforce adversely affects the kitchen and bath industry with longer timeframes for project completion.

“Unfilled jobs in the design and construction industry may be attributed to consistent messages to students and their parents that the most accessible path to success starts with a four-year college degree. Four-year college degrees are one way, but not the only way,” NKBA’s CEO Bill Darcy said in a statement.

“To attract the best talent, NKBA NextUp will engage with a wide network of students who have interest, curiosity or an entrepreneurial drive that is more compatible with a hands-on career in the kitchen and bath industry, so they are aware of the many paths to success.”

Darcy says goals of NextUp will be approached in three ways by the NKBA. First, it will work to create hands-on experiences that introduce high school students to the craft of design and construction. Second, it will seek to change the dialogue about career paths, raising awareness to the many pathways to lucrative and stimulating work improving living spaces in homes. Third, it will connect interest to action through NKBA chapters, building strong networks of local talent that will deliver an exceptional experience to homeowners seeking improvements.

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This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue.

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