Paul Odom, MCAA Chairman

As I write this month’s message, I’m still thinking about how AMAZING the National SkillsUSA contest was. I’m so glad I got to travel to Louisville, Kentucky for this great event.  Seeing that many young adults out there in one place, competing to show off the skills they are learning to improve our nation’s workforce, is so encouraging.

Of course, being a mason myself, I’m partial. I went through an apprenticeship, participated in a few contests, and I have judged and attended more than I can count throughout the years.  I love watching the speed and quality that each of these young people put into their projects.  But what I love more than that is what this competition represents:  the future of our industry.

These kids are our future.

Our future, as the masonry industry, depends on workforce development.  If you’re a mason contractor, you’ve probably faced a labor shortage several times in the past few years.

MCAA Skills USA Contestants 2018

Workforce development is something we must continue to focus on.  We see the shift in schools to support trades again and that’s great.  However, we must be diligent to ensure that masonry is one of the trades your area schools push.  I encourage you to reach out to your local and state associations and area schools to see how you can help.  Recruiting students intomasonry programs is also key.  This is a great profession, but we must share this passion and pride with both the prospective students andtheir parents to recruit the best.

We have a lot to share. Masonry is a proud industry and one in which teamwork and family principles thrive.  You can see this in everything we do.  Even at the SkillsUSA contest, we all pitched in to set up and clean up together. We, as mason contractors, all work together and it is one of the things that I love most about being part of the masonry industry.  To quote MCAA, “Together we are Stronger.”

Next month we’ve got the opportunity to grow stronger together at the Midyear Meeting in Austin, Texas, my home state.  I look forward to welcoming many of you there as we gather to learn and network as an industry.  You won’t want to miss it.  Be sure to check out the event lineup on MCAA’s website.  Also, remember that the offer still stands that I’ll cover 50% of your membership for first time members.  I continue to be that convinced that you’ll love this association as I do.

Until next month…

Paul