In a response to major demographic shifts in the remodeling workforce, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry announced in late May the launch of its Spanish-language examination for the certified lead carpenter (CLC) designation.

The roughly four-hour exam is a direct translation and interpretation of the English-language exam, says Dan Taddei, NARI's director of education. Both versions have 180 questions covering 21 areas of expertise, including interpersonal skills, project management, and the trades.

A key initiative of NARI's Diversity Task Force, the Spanish-language CLC certification aims to widen educational opportunities for carpenters whose spoken command of English is often better than their written understanding. Until now, the language barrier has prevented many talented carpenters — and even business owners — from taking advantage of NARI's “great educational system,” says task force chair Anna Mavrakis of Mavrakis Construction, Canton, Ohio. “We looked at this large group of people who might make wonderful members, or might need help with their business.”

“We want fewer barriers and more inclusion,” adds Taddei. Native Spanish speakers are “growing into leadership positions, and as they grow, they need opportunities,” he says, adding that NARI members had expressed a need for such programs — especially in areas where Spanish is often the primary language on construction sites.

“I think it's absolutely the right direction for the industry,” says NARI member Tim Wallace of T.W. Wallace Construction, Arlington, Va. He currently has no CLCs on staff, but says, “I have one I'm pretty confident will fly to this program.”

Between 150 and 170 carpenters take the English-language CLC exam most years, with a pass rate of about 75%, according to Taddei. There are currently 538 certified lead carpenters. The fee for both the English and Spanish CLC certification is $410 for NARI members and $525 for nonmembers.

To learn more about prepping for and taking the CLC exam in your area, contact your local NARI chapter by going to