By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter
A decade ago, you couldn’t change the channel without finding a new motorcycle build show. Five years ago, it was extreme eating challenges and local legendary greasy spoons.
And today it seems like you can’t touch the remote without seeing a show about tiny houses. It seems millennials are rejecting “more is more” McMansions and opting for small, portable and innovative living spaces that reflect their personality.
Believe it or not, this could be the best thing that ever happened to the Skills Gap.
First of all, the craze has exposed young adults to the trades. They may not see it in the classroom everywhere, and they rarely get mentioned by guidance counselors, but as anyone with a kids knows, TV holds a lot more sway. And with just one network having 5 or more shows, that track the project from idea to completion, it’s no wonder kids are trying it for themselves.
Secondly, the smaller footprint makes it easier for the schools and companies that are promoting the trades to have an attention-getting project house. It’s a lot easier to find the space to do a 400 square foot project tiny house, that allows you to show off all the trades, and which can be rolled out and donated afterward, than to buy an empty plot of land for a one-off build.
Lastly, these projects offer an excellent opportunity for manufacturers to test, hone and roll out new technology. It provides a small lab, a builder ready to think outside the box, and other opportunities that traditional builds just can’t match.
A huge part of closing the skilled trades gap will be meeting your potential new workforce halfway. The traditional channels of training your workforce have been underfunded and ignored for the better part of a generation. The ones that have survived have done so by looking at the trends and likes of their target demographic and seeing where they can “insert” themselves. And while a tiny house may not be right for you to live in, it’s a great way to show a kid that they can do more than just watch one get built, that you can help them make it real.