Mike Holmes, "America's Most Trusted Contractor" and host of Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV, told remodelers at the Remodeling Leadership Conference on May 7 that he believes the loss of government funding for shop classes and parents pushing kids away from trades are core issues in the labor shortage. 

Holmes said that he believes there has been a shortfall in the last 15 years because contractor parents have pushed their kids in a different direction, saying to them “don’t become a trade, my back is sore, or people don’t want to pay for good work anymore.”

He cited the lack of trade programs in  schools due to government cutbacks. Holmes said that he can remember taking classes, such as carpentry and sheet welding, in school in Canada and these programs aren’t there anymore. Kids no longer get hands-on exposure, which he feels is a fatal mistake for the trades. “Nobody knows how to build stuff," lamented Holmes.

For remodelers looking to find young workers, Holmes recommends getting involved with SkillsUSA and World Skills. He also advocates bringing in young people and training them.

“I’m not afraid to bring them on the show because for me they’re new and I get to teach them what I know,” Holmes said during the Q&A part of his speech. “Their minds are open. I encourage you to do the same. It takes more time, but at the same time, you’re probably going to train the best and end up with someone that you’re going to have for a long time.”

In addition, Holmes said he encourages women to join the field because, “women will make men honest.” His son and daughter are both involved in the business and in World Skills.

“We’re only here for a short period of time, and if we don’t do this right the young are not going to fix it,” he concluded.