Worker shortage in the kitchen, bath industry causing a backup

A new twist on a job fair could raise awareness for the many open positions

Over the next six years, an estimated 750,000 jobs will open up in the kitchen and bath industry, but companies are already having trouble finding workers to fill the current jobs, and the National Kitchen & Bath Association CEO said they are worried about filling those upcoming positions, too.

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NKBA launched the “NextUp Program” to help combat this problem, CEO Bill Darcy told FOX Business’ “After the Bell” on Tuesday.

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This program aims to raise awareness about the diversity of jobs in the industry, such as designing, building and remodeling careers, showing them firsthand the industry is more than plumbing.

“Whether they want to work with their hands, their mind or both … across the board, there's so many opportunities,” Darcy said.

The “NextUp Program” goes to middle schools and high schools across the country and sets up displays of the career options within the industry.

Students can get a more hands-on experience where they “act out the role of a showroom salesperson or a kitchen designer for a few hours, really feel what it's like,” which is much better than a traditional job fair, Darcy told FOX Business’ Melissa Francis.

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Thousands of kitchen and bath industry jobs go unfilled each month, and many teens and parents aren’t aware of these career opportunities, according to The National Kitchen & Bath Association website. The NextUp Program is working on educating both, according to Darcy.

In 2019, the manufacturing sector spent $26.2 billion on internal and external training programs for both current and new employees, researchers found.

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A study conducted by the Manufacturing Institute, a partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, found more than 43 percent of companies are increasing workforce levels, while more than 79 percent of manufacturing companies are working on increasing training efforts for their workers.

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FOX Business’ Brittany De Lea contributed to this article.