The School of Roofing
By: Henry Staggs, RRO
September 25th, 2020
There is no question that we lack of skilled labor in the roofing industry. As my great-grandfather used to say, "have a problem? Bring me a solution first and then tell me about the problem". The solution is easy, but not easy. We have to reach out and attract good people into the industry. Then we need to give them the tools they'll need to succeed. And encourage and walk beside them until they are ready to walk on their own. We must help our industry grow and improve. The days of "sink or swim" has to go. The old system of "good luck and hope you make to the end of the day." Is not working anymore. We have to change, and we are changing as an industry.
The East Valley Institute of Technology has opened its doors to us.
I have been working with the instructor for the EVIT construction technologies class for about two years. We are bringing more roofing to his students when they hear about all the different roles in the industry. And that not all roofing is hard, sweaty, and dangerous work. Most of the roofing industry is behind a desk and not on the roof. They start to ask the speakers great questions. And engage with the speakers even after the official presentation. Last year we did a demonstration as well in their yard area. This year we are looking at doing the same in October. I am sure I'll be posting something about it.
Who was with me this time?
I was joined by Dave of Eagle Roofing Products (a manufacturer of concrete roofing tile and accessories). Tom of Versico (a manufacturer of coatings and single ply roofing materials). Jesse (an accounts manager with Gorman Roofing). Monica, office manager at Preferred Roof Consultants of Arizona LLC ( a roof consulting firm). Lisa, with the ASU OSHA Training Center (safety and health educator).
We met with the students, wearing our mask and being properly distanced, of course. Each one of us described who we are and what our roles are in the industry. The students got a chance to ask each one of us questions. And a few stayed behind for more one on one with some of the students whose interest peaked. These presentations are always fun when the class hears how much opportunity there is in the roofing industry. And how big and still welcoming roofing is to anyone willing to tough it out and work hard.
What else is happening
Many things are going on right now. It's hard to list them in any real order. I am not the only person who sees the problem concerning labor. The NRCA and NCCER do too (I helped nudge the NCCER). Who are they? The National Roofing Contractors Association has spent.m and is still spending MILLIONS on new training programs. And the National Center of Construction Education and Training are the folks who develop an accredited construction curriculum. It would be the first actual roofing specific training program of this kind as far as I know. How do I know this is happening? To toot my own horn. I am the annoying guy who wouldn't stop pestering the powers that be.
"It's Mr. Staggs, the guy who told us we were doing this before we knew we were doing this - John NCCER Project Manager." I was nominated to the committee by NCCER. And interviewed by Reed Ribles of the NRCA to be on the committee. That is how I know this is all happening. I was in the front of the charge, and now that the power that we are on board. Things are happening at a more accelerated rate. It won't be long before we can start pushing this program into the marketplace
My goal and dream are to plant a roofing course at EVIT. They do seem open to the idea. West MEC is open to the discussion. But so far, no meetings or other contact. But don't worry, sooner or later it will happen.
Habitat For Humanity
Arizona Habitat for Humanity is an NCCER accredited training center? They offer a 16-week course to disadvantaged people. Which prepares for any entry-level role at most construction companies. They are talking about building a training center and expanding their offerings to include the new roofing program. That is exciting news and brings me to three powerful possibilities for a school of roofing. Or at least teaching roofing in existing schools.
What can you do?
Do you have expertise in the roofing industry and want to be an instructor at some point? There is no better time than the present to get started. I can help you with that.
Do you have roofing materials that you can donate? There can never be enough materials. To any manufacturers or distributors out there who want to help. Please please reach out to me and let's make it happen.
Do you have money to donate? Any of these institutions will gladly accept your donation. Suppose you do choose to donate through and want to see it used for roofing training. Send your donation to either the Mesa EVIT campus (they have already opened their door to us). And/or a donation to the Habitat for Humanity training program. Be sure totell them Henry Staggs sent you and that you would like to see your donation used to their training program. Please share and like our posts and articles about training in the roofing industry. The more people we can reach, the better.
Call me, and let's talk more (480) 265-1613