Fine Homebuilding, in Partnership with CertainTeed and SkillsUSA, Awards $25,000 in Scholarships as Part of Its #KeepCraftAlive Movement

Ceremony Takes Place Today, June 21st in Louisville, KY, During the SkillsUSA 53rd Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference, the World's Largest Showcase of Skilled Trades

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NEWTOWN, Conn.--()--Fine Homebuilding, the trusted industry leader in providing residential building and design information for professional builders, architects, designers, as well as hands-on homeowners is on a mission, and today, in partnership with CertainTeed Corporation, awards $25,000 in scholarships to the next generation of craftsmen as part of a broad sweeping campaign to “Keep Craft Alive.” In fact, the company has stepped up in its leadership position to leverage all its resources to help bring critical awareness to an important statistic: 10 million skilled workers are needed by 2020.

Editorial director Rob Yagid explains, “Fine Homebuilding has launched the multi-faceted #KeepCraftAlive movement to help close the skills gap. We are partnering with leading industry organizations and influencers to build awareness of the skills training and educational opportunities that exist in this country, and we’ll be awarding student scholarships to support those who want to pursue a path in the trades. Also — and this is perhaps our most challenging and important task — we’ll continue to celebrate the value of true craftsmanship in all trades in order to influence the cultural narrative about what it means to be a respected, successful professional.”

In the spirit of the #KeepCraftAlive mission to close the skills gap, and in alignment with Fine Homebuilding’s focus on the economics of the construction industry, the company has established a partnership and unique scholarship opportunities for SkillsUSA members. Fine Homebuilding is offering a scholarship opportunity for SkillsUSA high school, college/postsecondary and alumni members studying in construction-related fields who plan to continue their education in community colleges, undergraduate programs or industry certifications.

Fine Homebuilding will award five $5,000 scholarships — a total of $25,000 — to students in fields such as architectural drafting, carpentry, cabinetmaking, electrical and residential wiring, HVAC, masonry, woodworking and plumbing for the 2017-18 academic year.

During the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference the following winners will be acknowledged at a special reception on June 21 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville:

  • Harris Lanier: (Winner - Construction), Sanford, NC
  • Isaiah Elam: (Winner - Carpentry), McCall Creek, MS
  • Sam Vitez (Winner – Carpentry) Whitehouse Station, NJ
  • Will Lee: (Winner – HVAC) Leland, MS
  • Eddie Escamilla (Winner - Electrical) Las Vegas, NV

Applicants wrote a 300-word essay and submitted a letter of support from a teacher, administrator, SkillsUSA advisor, or educational/professional mentor as part of the application process.

As the official sponsor of the Fine Homebuilding #KeepCraftAlive Scholarship Awards event, CertainTeed Corporation has partnered with Fine Homebuilding and donated $20,000 toward the scholarship fund. “As an organization with a rich history in the construction industry, we are incredibly proud to team up with an outlet like Fine Homebuilding to join a cause that gives back to the next generation of people who have a passion for the trades,” said Mara L. Villanueva-Heras, vice president of corporate marketing, CertainTeed. “The time is now to make sure the talent pipeline continues to be filled, so the tradesmen and women of tomorrow are prepared to successfully enter the workforce.”


In creating these scholarships, Fine Homebuilding’s focus is on the economics of the construction industry. Yagid and his team note a disparity between the employment demands of a growing housing industry and a shortage of trained qualified labor – the skills gap – which is rocking home building to its core.

In a 2016 industry survey prepared by Marianne Cusato, a professor at Notre Dame’s School of Architecture, 93% of professionals felt their businesses would grow over the next year if not for difficulties in hiring skilled employees. Of those who are qualified as skilled laborers, 61% attribute the shortage to a lack of exposure to the trades for younger generations.

Publisher Renee Jordan shares deeper insights, “Many in our Fine Homebuilding community have echoed these struggles, whether in trying to hire an employee for their own construction crew or those hoping to find a qualified contractor to work on their own home. There is an ongoing discourse around the factors involved in the current skills gap ranging from factors such as the housing crisis and the Great Recession, the lack of formal apprenticeship programs, the reduction in an immigrant labor pool, or the rampant extraction of shop class and technical training in public education since the 1990s. But the fact remains that there is home-building work to be done in this country and not enough trained builders and remodelers to do it. From the pace of building, to the cost of construction, to the prices of homes, to the quality of our housing infrastructure, the skills gap is having deep and far-reaching influence.


Earlier this year, Fine Homebuilding gave its first official tour of its most progressive initiative to-date, the first-ever ProHOME, a start-to-finish demonstration home located in East Greenwich, RI. ProHOME fills a gap for the construction industry, documenting the “hows” and “whys” of the build, not just the finished product, as well as fulfills another aspect of Fine Homebuilding’s mission to showcase building education and elevate the knowledge of best construction practices, along with the products and processes chosen to fit the system of a house to achieve energy and overall performance goals. Fine Homebuilding teamed up with builder Mike Guertin and designer Michael Maines. Guertin has been a professional builder for over 35 years, and is an industry expert on building best practices. Mike has written over 100 articles for Fine Homebuilding and has appeared in dozens of videos dedicated to this topic.

Maines is a highly regarded residential designer with a background in carpentry, engineering, high-performance design and pays special attention to the practical, hardworking parts of a house, from sustainable and durable material selection to flexible and efficient spatial planning. For design inspiration, he draws on nature, and traditional vernacular architecture.

The second ProHome house is already in the works, the site is located Wilder, VT with Tim Biebel as the project lead, who runs Prudent Living, a division of Biebel Builders. The house is slated for an end of September 2017 completion.

Yagid concludes, “Many show home projects are focused exclusively on finished results, and with inspiration being their sole intent. We have developed a deep understanding of the world’s most progressive building standards, cutting-edge technologies, and most advanced building methods and assemblies. In our ProHOME series, we bring our audience on-site, up close to every aspect of the build of this high performance home, so they can confidently emulate what we are doing. It’s also another example of our dedication to innovating and educating in this space to hopefully inspire a new generation of craftsmen as well.”

About Fine Homebuilding

Fine Homebuilding is the most trusted and authoritative resource for the residential construction and remodeling community. We uniquely source our content from the job sites and design offices of the most qualified and talented builders and designers in the industry to empower a global workforce with the ability to create the most advanced homes possible. Driven by the ethos that exceptional homes are possible and that craftsmanship is an honorable and worthy pursuit, Fine Homebuilding has become the brand for skilled practitioners, deeply knowledgeable enthusiasts, industry influencers, and forward-thinking companies who are collectively committed to shaping the way we build.

About CertainTeed

Through the responsible development of innovative and sustainable building products, CertainTeed, headquartered in Malvern, Pennsylvania, has helped shape the building products industry for more than 110 years. Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company, the firm's slogan "Quality Made Certain, Satisfaction Guaranteed," inspired the name CertainTeed. Today, CertainTeed is a leading North American brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, fence, decking, railing, trim, insulation, drywall and ceilings.

A subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest and oldest building products companies, CertainTeed has more than 6,300 employees and more than 60 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada. The company had total sales of approximately $3.4 billion in 2016.

About SkillsUSA

SkillsUSA is a national membership organization serving middle school, high school and college/postsecondary students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations. More than 335,000 students and advisors join SkillsUSA annually, organized into 18,000 chapters and 52 state and territorial associations. This includes 19,500 instructors who join as professional members. Including alumni, SkillsUSA membership totals over 394,000. SkillsUSA has served more than 12.5 million annual members cumulatively since 1965. SkillsUSA empowers its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. SkillsUSA improves the quality of our nation’s future skilled workforce through the development of personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics.

To find out more or to speak to a company representative, contact Tami McCarthy via email at or via phone at 212.750.5755.


The McCarthy Group
Tami McCarthy, 212-750-5755 // 917-604-5596

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The McCarthy Group
Tami McCarthy, 212-750-5755 // 917-604-5596