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Skilled Trades, Construction and Retail Leaders Form STAC

September 2, 2023

NEST, the pioneers of integrated facilities management, has teamed up with leaders across the construction, retail, and skilled trades industries to create the Skilled Trades Advisory Council (STAC). Aimed to combat the crisis facing skilled labor in the U.S. and Canada, STAC’s founding advisors will leverage their resources, knowledge, and network to elevate the skilled trades as high-paying, honorable, and often heroic career paths, including electrical, plumbing, HVAC, janitorial, construction, and other essential jobs that require a rejuvenated workforce.

Founding STAC advisors include:
– Rob Almond, CEO of NEST
– Sara Angus, Director of Construction, Starbucks
– Julie Starzynski, Director of Construction & Design, Floor & Decor
– Andrew Brown, Founder and CEO of Toolfetch
– Sarah Hammond, Owner and President of Atlas and Treasurer of Women in HVAC
– Kam Washington, Owner of PMA Construction
– Kate Cinnamo, Executive Director of Explore the Trades
– Mónica Muñoz, Senior Director of Capital Programs at DaVita Kidney Care
– Mary Gaffney, President of NAWIC Philadelphia Foundation and GEM Mechanical Services

“I’m encouraged that so many others share my passion for growing the trades and ending the stigma that surrounds jobs in the industry,” said Almond, who spearheaded the initiative. “STAC is a way for many of us to work together and find ways to encourage youth to consider a career in the skilled trades. There are many viable, lucrative, and creative opportunities to explore.”

According to online recruiting platform Handshake, the application rate for young people seeking technical jobs dropped by 49% in 2022 compared to 2020. Staffing firm PeopleReady estimates 40% of the 12 million people in the skilled trades workforce are over the age of 45, with nearly half of those workers over the age of 55.

Associated Builders and Contractors reported that the construction industry will need to attract an estimated 546,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2023 to meet the demand for labor.

“The U.S. and Canadian workforces are struggling to fill a massive gap in the skilled trades, and we need to unite as an industry to reverse the trend,” added Almond, who is based in the Philadelphia area. “This group of founding advisors shares that passion across many sectors that make up the industry.”

KBB asked STAC advisor Sara Angus, director of construction for Starbucks, about how she started in the construction industry.

“I found the construction business by accident. I got a job out of college at a large local GC as an administrative assistant. I fell in love. I went back and got a degree in Construction Management and worked up the ranks from there. I love the pace of construction, the problem solving and team collaboration, the camaraderie that exists on a jobsite and the fact that no matter who you are – if you bring a skill set, you are accepted.”

About her plan to further the mission of STAC, Angus said, “With the help of the fellow board members, we’ll first look to raise awareness of the issues. Second is creating tools and opportunities for our vast networks to engage.”

—By Leslie Clagett, KBB managing editor