Monday, October 21, 2019

Is It Time for Modular Home Factories to Create Their Own School?

Vocational education was once used to track low-income students off to work while wealthier kids went to college. But today's career and technical education have changed, and graduates of vocational programs may have the advantage over graduates of traditional high schools.


There are Vocational schools for electricians, plumbers, CAD professionals, airplane mechanics and a host of other skilled labor jobs, there are no schools for the skills needed in today’s labor strapped modular housing factory production lines.

74 percent of executives at U.S. manufacturing companies say a shortage of workers for skilled production jobs is having a significant impact on their company’s ability to expand operations or improve productivity. It’s estimated that as many as 600,000 skilled manufacturing jobs were going unfilled because of a lack of qualified workers.

“We can’t just go out and throw up some ads and hire some skilled people. They’re not out there.” -Dennis Dio Parker, Toyota North America.

The modular housing industry is definitely not as big as Toyota which uses the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) Program in Kentucky is a partnership between Toyota Motor Manufacturing and Bluegrass Community and Technical College but we can begin the same type of program on a smaller scale.

In areas where there is concentrated modular and manufactured factories, the industry could work regionally with small state colleges to provide a couple of weeks or months of training in specific stations found in all the factories.

The factories would collectively contribute financially to support these regional programs with the graduates being offered employment at one of the participating factories.


Young people, Vets and others wanting to reenter the workforce would be given the chance to have a paying skilled job upon “graduating”.

Sharing the cost of developing skilled workers for our industry is about the only way these colleges or trade schools will take on this project but the rewards could be huge.

It seems so simple in theory but the reality has always been getting modular and manufacturing companies to sit down and actually figure out how to implement it.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe a community college in West VA did this at the Old Excel Homes faciltiy in Ghent West VA- not sure how the school performed.

Ron D'Ambra said...

A terrific idea, BUT..why should the plants/manufacturer's absorb the burden of providing not only the funds, but the materials for "HOW TO" projects and learning courses. The state's are the one reaping all the rewards, from taxes and other funds made available to them for homes shipped and manufactured in their state. If the manufacturer's are not going to receive any benefit for tax purposes, then why would they assume such a financial burden? Yes we want "big government" to stay away of their "over reach" process, but after all, the state is the licensing entity, and that produces a lot of money for the "general fund", the state should implement such a training program, with a expectation of completing the training course for employment opportunities.

Coach said...

Ron, it would be great if state governments would take the lead in training for the modular housing industry but that has two flaws.

First, site builders would fight it every step of the way and secondly, if by the time the local or state governments could actually find funding for training, many modular factories that depend on single family home builders would be on their last legs or would have switched to doing nothing but commercial business.

If modular factories had already been producing training materials along with promoting how to become a new home builder along with training sales reps how to approach prospective modular builders and had actually been working together, today the industry would have a stronger impact on new home construction.

Recruiting and training 'new to modular' builders will save our industry and who better to do that than the people in the modular home industry?

Anonymous said...

Coach, you need to realize the people that own those factories have never done anything as a collective body. Hate to say it but you and I will never see them come together for any reason including training.

Anonymous said...

There was a solid opportunity this past summer for funding an educations pilot program related to this as part of the DOE- ABC - EE program under Topic #3. Things like this take a great deal of planning and coordinating. I did not apply because my work focus is research not education. I will keep my eye out for opportunities and ask the Coach for help spreading the word.

Ron Herring said...

Good day to all from rural Va. We are experiencing the same effect here trying to find reliable tradesmen. I / we are are all in for training and educating.
I firmly believe in the trade school education. When looking for a model to emulate why not look at a school with 100 years experience. Newport News Apprentice School,https://www.as.edu has been producing tradesmen for 100 years. I am one of those that decided to start by own business. I graduated in 1972. I did several things independently as sub contracting.
In 1986 we founded TheHomeCraftersVa.net building custom modular homes and design build of restorations etc.It will be worth you while to check it out.
Thanks, Ron Herring

Josh Margulies said...

Look Gary, i know what it takes to make the kid that the plant wants. Basic carpentry, drywall, tile, paint, maybe some concrete. There need be no institution for those skills. They are learned on the job under supervision!

This is BY DEFINITION a highly desperate and competitive bunch. Schools cost money to run. It is not the responsibility of the state or fed or public schools or the industry to TRAIN trades. It is the guy who knows he can make money running a school cause his guys learned something. It is the individual will to invest in his training. As long as tradesmenship is inadequately compensated you will have trouble with labor.

When you correct the immigration problem and pay a domestic wage that will make them compete for these jobs we will be ok