Local Presidents, Area VP’s and Local EO’s:

In today’s Tampa Bay Times, former State Senator and Announced CFO candidate Jeremy Ring made a statement which can arguably be interpreted to discourage the inclusion of home building trades education in schools. To put the statements in context, he was speaking about the need to invest in education which spurs innovation. Unfortunately, he also included a statement advocating for  “…a school system that builds a future where our kids don’t grow up wanting to be a home builder or a land-use attorney, but the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg like the kids growing up in Silicon Valley.” To read the article containing the quote in full context, click here.

Given the construction workforce crisis in Florida, we could not let such a statement to unchallenged. As such, the following reply by me was issued to the Tampa Bay Times on behalf of the Florida Home Builders Association.

The Florida Home Builders Association applauds former state Sen. Jeremy Ring for the ten years he served in the Florida Senate, where he supported and voted for legislation that provided education and training opportunities for the construction industry.  However, his recent comments in the Tampa Bay Times that “…a school system that builds a future where our kids don’t grow up wanting to be a home builder or a land-use attorney, but the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg like the kids growing up in Silicon Valley,” are regretful.

Considering that Florida’s population is expected to grow an average of 1.52% annually between 2015 and 2020, according to the 2017 Economic Overview by the Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, we would be remiss not to encourage career paths of home builders.  With the rate of our growth, where Florida is the third most populous state, the construction industry is currently plagued by a significant workforce shortage. Costs overruns and significant delays often result from the inability to find craftsmen to lay block, run electric wiring, install an HVAC unit or lay plumbing in a house.

FHBA agrees with former Senator Ring, where focusing on an innovative economy is good for Florida. In fact, innovation like 3-D printing technology and robotics may one day alleviate the construction workforce shortage. However, to suggest that schools not focus on trade education is shortsighted. Home building and its associated trades are honorable, worthwhile, and in-demand careers.

In our zeal to prepare the next generation for success, let’s not overlook the value and necessity of home building and its associated trades.

Feel free to post and/or distribute to membership. Thanks!

Rusty Payton, Florida Home Builders Association

CEO/Chief Lobbyist

E-mail: rpayton@fhba.com

Office Number: (850) 402-1841

Cell Number: (850) 567-1073