Within our philanthropic campaign, we felt we needed to do our part to help solve another serious problem: filling the gap in trade and technical jobs. This gap stems from a longtime cultural shift of directing our youth to focus on the collegiate track above all else. Consequently, there are too few youth wanting to consider a trade job and even fewer trained to do it. For those who want to know more on this topic, there are others who can speak more definitely about it, such as Mike Rowe, known to most from Dirty Jobs or Returning the Favor.
As Ferguson Roofing is concerned, our future as a business is dependent on skilled labor and technical know-how. This is true not just for our installers, but also for most positions, including service technicians, project managers, production managers, inspectors, estimators, and sales representatives. Our interest is not just in our business surviving, but also in the survival of our industry. As weird as it is to suggest, there could be a time that roofs simply won’t get done. This will be unimportant to most until it is immediately relevant. And it is not just our industry that is facing these challenges.
We originally planned to have 20 of our 80 slots held for trade scholarships. This was to assist with tuition or supplies relevant to attending a trade school. We realized early on that we do not have the bandwidth to connect with this audience to solicit enough (or any) applications for these students. We recognized the need for a partnership. We decided to aggregate the money/time/resources that we were going to commit to the scholarships and roll them into a support program. We selected to work with North County Tech. As a part of the Special School District, North County Tech provides a sound and diverse curriculum to students who are considering careers in the technical and vocational industries. Their programs include carpentry, construction, automotive, information technology/networking, hospitality, design, health sciences, culinary, and early education.
Our primary goal is to promote the viability of trade jobs for a productive, promising, financially rewarding, and personally fulfilling opportunity. We plan to volunteer as mentors and create learning moments. If we can introduce some to roofing, we would welcome them in the industry and possibly into our business. There are good paying jobs waiting and great business looking for talent.
UPDATE: Like with most things these days, our internship program with them is put on hold as school(s) have been shut down with the COVID-19 situation. We plan to work with the school as they determine their re-opening strategy to see how we can assist with our partnership.