At first, carpentry skills were passed down from generation to generation. Then unions developed training programs. Now, most training is for commercial work and many trade schools are closing due to a lack of applicants. What can you do about the shrinking labor pool?

Stop complaining and act. All carpenters should realize the labor shortage is their problem and work to correct it.

Go back to school. Volunteer to talk about carpentry during career day at local schools. Be sure to tell interesting stories and take along some cool tools.

Be an active recruiter. Search for people who have a good work attitude and can be trained to be good carpenters.

Look in non-traditional places. If you know someone who would make a good carpenter and would fit into your company, recruit that person. I have met carpenters who were policemen, painters, teachers, and welders. Look for women who want a career and approach the African-American and Hispanic communities.

When a new person starts in your company, teach them new skills. Most of us work independently and are focused on completing our jobs, but we should take time to teach the new person. Speak positively about your work and recommend new people for advancement when they have mastered skills. Treat them with respect and enjoy the process of seeing them learn and grow.

--Tim Faller, Field Training Services,