Several Tennessee Valley schools cancel after school activities Monday due to weather concerns

Shortage of homebuilders leads to new construction school

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - With North Alabama growing at an exponential rate, developers say there just aren't enough homes to keep up. The National Association of Homebuilders estimates the skills trade industry is short 400,000 workers nationwide.  A school in the works could help build a much-needed workforce.

THE PROBLEM

Construction work is dirty and labor-intensive, but somebody has to do it.

"The economy is booming so much in Huntsville -- we have a labor shortage." Barry Oxley with the Huntsville Madison County Builders Association said there just aren't enough builders to keep up with the homes needed for the amount of people flooding into the city.

"We build about 3,800 new homes every year here in this market, and that's been increasing," said Oxley. Which means the labor force needs more workers to keep up with the current housing market. So, the association is forming a school to help fill that need.

A SOLUTION

They're calling it the North Alabama Homebuilding Academy.

"There's many opportunities out there in construction trades where you can make a great living," said Oxley.

Oxley said 30% of graduating seniors in Madison County won't pursue higher education. "Schools have pushed college to the answer for everything." But there's still a need for skilled labor, which doesn't require a college degree.

GETTING STARTED

"When they graduate from high school or just finished high school they're out there working regular, hourly jobs," said Oxley. "They don't really see where they can go."

Oxley said that's where the homebuilding academy will come in to help train up a new group of workers to help Huntsville grow."

Organizers are still fleshing out plans for the new Homebuilders Academy. They have a building in mind and they hope to name a director soon with classes available starting in January.

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