The La Crosse Area Builders Association is a nonprofit trade organization made up of 180 members in roles across the industry. There are builders, suppliers, contractors, real estate agents, developers, and more. We spoke to Alex Goodman, the building careers chairman for LABA, about the work they do in the community to promote jobs within the building industry.
The LABA was holding a student tour to promote building careers within the home building industry, not just the trade jobs but other jobs, including bankers, realtors, lumber yards, etc. They want to let kids know that there are many jobs beyond just tradespeople and that there is a great future in the building industry.
They are passionate about educating our youth and the future workforce about the opportunities that lie within the building industry for them. Over 150 students get to meet people working in fields that are related to building contractors but require 4-year degrees like suppliers, business manufacturing, showrooms, real estate, and banking. They are introduced to people in trades like electrician, drywall, masonry, etc.
The LABA is an organization that groups of professionals come together for a common cause, to promote professionalism within the building industry. Along with this student tour, they also encourage mentorship among members, and those within these careers can mentor each other. They can give and receive sound advice from their peers while observing good leadership and organization from other members. LABA also knows that there’s still a problem with keeping the word out there that you should always use a professional contractor. They let homeowners know the value of doing their research and choosing a contractor who invests in their own business and always look for honesty and transparency.
The LABA also fights for proper regulations, rules, building permit costs, and other permits related to building houses, in general. Within our line of work, there are a lot of challenges related to over-regulation. They work with legislators for proper regulations and keeping things in check. There is a team dedicated to working with legislators on a regular basis that helps our voices be heard. They can clear up confusion with licensing and get questions to answers like how to get proper licensing, and how to maintain it with credentialing. The LABA strives to be the go-to source for information for people in the industry.
Another program that started at LABA, is the Tools for Schools program. Every year, trade programs at schools like shop class, and hands-on learning programs get cut due to budget. Our Tools for Schools program asks for construction programs and labs at local high schools to send a list of tools they need to keep their curriculum going. The program has recently donated $12,000 of tools to 19 schools in the area. So far, they have donated over $70,000 worth of tools to schools, everything from tape measures to table saws, so they can continue to teach students the valuable hands-on trades that could lead to a great career one day. School budget cuts should not be the reason for students to be unable to learn more about these valuable trades with first-hand experience.
Some fun things they’ve done around the holidays include building the Santa House for the Rotary Lights in La Crosse. Our members put in hours and hours of volunteer time to build up the Santa House, the centerpiece of the Rotary Lights, where kids can visit Santa. LABA members also built the red and green barricades that the Rotary Lights team can use to block off roads for the parade, and walkways, and keep guests safe. Every year the Rotary Lights collect hundreds of thousands of food items to help end hunger, and the La Cross Area Builders Association couldn’t be prouder to be a part of such an event in the local community.
First American Roofing is proud to be a member of the La Crosse Area Builders Association and would recommend it to any business in the industry that wants to truly invest in their company, and continue growing, learning, and sharing expertise with their peers and their community. The LABA is there to help strengthen your business, while also offering some pretty amazing benefits that come along with membership. Check out their website for more information and a list of events, or call us at First American Roofing to learn how we became a member, and what it’s done for our business.