Ep. 9

Playing the Long Game to Attract Skilled Trade Talent w/ Shawn Kaufman

In this episode 9, we talk with Shawn Kaufman about the unique challenges that the skilled trade industry faces.
Shawn Kaufman

Shawn Kaufman

Director of Human Resources
Riggs Industries, Inc

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From truck bodies to roller coasters, building tangible structures is a large part of the appeal of working in the skilled trade industry. And you get to work in places like football stadiums and amusement parks. Cool, right? So, why has the industry been hit particularly hard when it comes to attracting new talent?

We sat down with Shawn Kaufman, Director of Human Resources at Riggs Industries, Inc, to talk about what’s unique about manufacturing and construction companies and the challenges they face when it comes to attracting prospective workers. In particular, we discussed the shift that occurred away from getting an education in the form of apprenticeships or at a trade school and towards getting a four-year degree only—and how that shift has hurt the industry.

We also talked about:

  • What he’s done to help improve the perception of careers in skilled trades with students
  • How education doesn’t just occur at a four-year university; for some, an apprenticeship or trade school is a better fit
  • Playing the long game when it comes to attracting talent
  • His recommendations to other HR professionals and companies in skilled trade industries who are also struggling to attract prospective workers

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