Builders who worry about the trickle of younger adults coming into the housing industry need to do a better job of convincing high school and college students that residential development and construction are offering employment opportunities again after several years of deep layoffs and business failures among home-building companies.
That’s even true for students enrolled in secondary and collegiate construction management programs—presumably where the next generation of leaders for the housing sector should be emerging. A good number of these students still gravitate toward careers in commercial or industrial architecture and construction, because that’s where the economy and the media are telling them jobs are more likely to be in the immediate future.
Take, for example, Laura McCree, a senior at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., who was one of the recipients of the NAHB’s Outstanding Student Awards for 2013. She says that she wouldn’t mind “trying” home building eventually, but for now she thinks commercial is the better path to take to achieve her long-range goal of becoming a structural engineer.