Summary: The skilled labor force is dwindling and the National Kitchen and Bath Association is looking toward the youth of North America to fulfill it! Christina Dock discusses NKBA’s NextUp Initiative that hopes to inspire young adults to contemplate all the paths available to them!

Guest: Christina Dock of the National Kitchen and Bath Industry
Website: https://nkba.org/nextup/

3 Points for Success – Christina Dock:

  1. We need to get everybody involved, whether you’re in and be a member or not. We want you involved with this initiative. And we really want to expose as many students as we can to our industry.
  2. Whoever you see, whoever you talk to, you don’t get the word out there. And KBI is doing this next step initiative. So they know about it and they can spread the word.
  3. NKBA is not anti-college. We are pro career! So when you are advising any young individual, have them really explore all the path that they may be interested in and not stifle their decision making process.

Podcast Transcript

James [00:00:00] Well, how do you it’s James Carey and it’s great to have you with us for another edition of Keri Brose Prose. You got it. We are pro contractors and we are brothers. Brother Morris away for the day. But fear not, I’ll fill all four shoes just as soon as I see my podiatrist. Anyway, when you think about building your construction business, does joining a professional organization come to your mind? Well, it should. Today, we’re talking about how the National Kitchen and Bath Association, affectionately referred to as the N K B A can help prepare the next generation of kitchen and bath designers with their new innovative. Next up. And that’s why we’ve invited Christina Doc to join us for this podcast. Welcome to CareyBrosPros. Christina.

Christina [00:00:50] Thank you so much, James. I’m happy to be here.

James [00:00:53] Well, we’re delighted to have you. We’ve been fans of the N.K.B.A for many, many, many years. Of course, we attend your show. We attended your show before it was co-located with the International Builders Show. KBIS, of course, had their own show. And you’re co-located now together for Design and Construction Week, and we just absolutely love it. So as a former educator, you bring a unique perspective to changing perspectives of trade careers to young people. Can you talk a little bit about why the NKBA is involved in this and what you’re doing with this program?

Christina [00:01:35] Sure. NKBA has created our next step initiative because we found that they’re serving our members, that 30 percent of their upcoming projects may experience long delays. And this is because there is a shortage in our workforce. We also found that our NKBA member’s highest concern is the labor shortage. So we created the NKBA Next Step, which aims to recruit and empower a well-prepared workforce that will contribute to the kitchen and bath industry. So we’re going to do this in a variety of ways, one of which being we’re creating experience. So Hands-On exposure. We’re going to change the dialog. We’re going to raise awareness for all the various opportunities, and we’re going to connect interest to action through our chapters just by connecting students to their local NKBA members.

James [00:02:27] And you have quite a robust organization, coast to coast, border to border. And how many chapters are there? Do we have a presence in every state?

Christina [00:02:37] We do. We have 70 chapters within the United States and Canada. And that makes up nearly 50 thousand members, a part of the NKBA.

James [00:02:47] And of course, we’re members as well. So I’m going to guess that this is a grassroots undertaking wherein you go out to your plus chapters and you get them involved and invite them to go out into the community to make youngsters aware of this program and the opportunities associated with it. Yes?

Christina [00:03:07] Yes, we are one of our main hats on is our local members in the community. They know what’s best for their area and we’re really relying on them to connect with the youth in their area with a variety of ways, one of which being our community restoration project, which is where we passed our 70 chapters to think about a community building that needed a kitchen and or a bath restoration. And we had chosen the Rocky Mountain chapter, which is around Denver, Colorado. And they received a $25000 grant to put toward the Mountain Resource Center kitchen remodel. And in this process, they are going to open up internships and opportunities for students to come in and work on the project and really get them involved in the construction and design industry. We also involve our chapters in our career, test-drive, our Bridge Year NKBA career tour. We go out to various schools and deliver six different career simulations of the kitchen and bath industry and those are plumbing, electrical, showroom fail, kitchen and bath design, installation and finished carpentry. And when we are in these schools, we ask that the local community members part of the chapter comes by and really has that experience with the students where they can talk about the industry, talk about how they entered the industry, their salary when they started out. Anything that the students have questions on, those industry professionals are there to answer them.

James [00:04:48] It really gives the students a firsthand opportunity to evaluate whether they want to seriously consider pursuing a career in that particular. Segment of the industry. And they may find. Well, you know what I thought may maybe plumbing, but boy, this electrical deal and getting involved with that and maybe lighting and there’s a career path there. Interestingly, by the way, as you mentioned, the different emphasis in the different trades, I was thinking, of course, of STEM, which is the acronym that’s being bandied about with regard to education. And I was thinking yours is PESKY or something along those lines.

Christina [00:05:31] Yeah. [laughs]

James [00:05:32] We’ve got to find a fun acronym for that. So, Christina, I know you talked a little bit about the career test drive, but let’s really drill down and talk about what if a high school student asked you for advice? How would you respond and suggest N.K., B-A and next up and why they should get involved?

Christina [00:05:56] Yeah. So my goal in life has always been to help every student find their path. And there are so many paths to success, whether that be a four year degree or not. So for some, a four year degree will be in their best interest. But for others, working with their hands or being creative, starting their own business may be more fulfilling. So I would just tell them to really branch out, try new things, because you never know what you’re going to find and you never know what path you’ll go on.

James [00:06:28] Christina, we’re all familiar with the term helicopter parent. And in the news over the last year or so, we’ve seen some very high profile parents who have. Should we say, nosed their way in to higher education institutions for their kids. And and, of course, some of them have landed behind bars. I guess it would suffice to say that a parent really has to be on board. So many parents are insistent that their children pursue a traditional four year degree, whether they want it or not. So I guess what comes to mind here is what’s one thing that you would tell parents who are hell bent on sending their kids to a four year college, but may be wondering if they should encourage their kids to pursue a career in design and construction?

Christina [00:07:30] Yeah. So there are so many factors within the kitchen and bath industry. The next generation can, you know, be involved in technology integration or sustainability. There’s just so many pasts in our industry that these students can start out as one thing, start out as an apprentice and then end up as a vise president of a company. So you don’t need a degree to climb the ranks in our industry. You could start out one place and end up a different place. So really, there’s just so many different path to success in our industry. And we would love for the parents to consider that because, you know, a four year degree might not be in the best interest of their child.

James [00:08:19] Yeah.

Christina [00:08:20] Yeah. We at NKBA like to say that we are not anti college. We are pro career. So whatever it takes for your student to succeed in life, whether that be a four year degree or not. We want them to experience and be successful.

James [00:08:37] Christina, I don’t think we are suggesting that a youngster shouldn’t pursue a two year or four year degree. As a matter of fact, I’m going to ask you if that may be an important two year or four year degree and how that can integrate into your program. I should say that the National Kitchen and Bath Association has professional resources. Gosh, we can’t leave as pros the resources that are available to us in the industry for collecting information from consumers to understanding what codes are, what best practices are, design specifications and limitations. All of this is really, really wonderful. So I guess technology would be the next question because all of the resources that I just mentioned are available either on a computer, a tablet or a smartphone. So how do you see technology changing the kitchen and bath market? And have you integrated technology as part of your next up program?

Christina [00:09:55] Yes, the technology is ever changing and that plays a role. In our industry, because we do have technology. And that’s something that a lot of people don’t really realize. They think, you know, you work with their hands construction, you’re not really using technology, but in the real world, you are using technology. So, for example, with our career tour, we have a kitchen and bath designer station. So these students use computers and use the software that real kitchen and bath designers use to remodel a kitchen. One other thing that plays a key role within our next step program is our jobs portal. So on our NKBA Web site, if you want to search a job, we have a jobs portal for that.

James [00:10:41] We frequently post for opportunities for folks that have an interest in joining our firm.

Christina [00:10:47] Yes, also. So we are really tasking our chapters and our members to post on that board whether it be internships, part time jobs or entry level positions. So these students that are involved with our next step program can go on to our Web site and find a career fit that they want in their area. So that’s something else that plays on the technology aspect.

James [00:11:14] We’re going to be come very best friends, Christina, as we endeavor to find young, bright, talented, energetic, ambitious people who want to make a career in the kitchen and bath industry. So stay tuned. Yeah. All right. As you know, we ask all of our CareyBrosPros guests for what we call three points for success that you’d like to leave, three points for success related to your presentation. So now it’s your turn.

Christina [00:11:51] Three points to success. So I think that three points that are really hitting home on our program are, you know, the community aspect. We need to get everybody involved, whether you’re in and be a member or not. We want you involved with this initiative. And we really want to expose as many students as we can to our industry. Next being we really want to get the word out. So whoever you see, whoever you talk to, you don’t get the word out there. And KBI is doing this next step initiative. So they know about it and they can spread the word. And then lastly, I just want to reiterate that. And KBI is not anti college. We are pro career. So when you are advising any young individual, have them really explore all the path that they may be interested in and not stifle their decision making process.

James [00:12:51] Amazing. Our thanks to Christina Dock- with the National Kitchen and Bath Association and leader of the Next Up initiative. Thanks for spending time with us on this episode of CareyBrosPros. Christina.

Christina [00:13:04] Yes. Thank you so much, James.

James [00:13:06] And by the way, you may learn more about the NKBA, their organization and services by visiting its Web site. It is NKBA.org. And don’t forget to go to NKBA.org, forward slash. Next up, but remember, if you’re looking for information about any of our guests as well as other podcast videos and informative articles, we invite you to check out our Web site. It’s CareyBrosPros.com.


About The Author James Carey

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