COLUMBUS, Ga. — The Trade and Industrial Educators of Georgia (TIEGA) is an association of high school teachers focused on a work-based curriculum. The mission of the group is to provide trade and industrial educators with the opportunity to interact and learn from each other while advocating for their common purpose. They further encourage and professionally support SkillsUSA, a partnership of students, teachers, and industry leaders working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.

The shortage of labor in the roofing and construction industry remains one of the top concerns for contractors and is growing along with the nation’s economic expansion. Led by Ron Heath, vice president of production and military housing for Roof Depot, a group of the company’s roofing professionals recently travelled to the 2017 TIEGA Conference to train the teachers on roofing practices — and they asked Roofing Contractor to come along.

The team presenting for Roof Depot consisted of seven individuals who all participated in and led a part of the presentation. Heath started the session with a discussion of the current labor crisis in construction along with a good description of all elements of the roofing industry (it’s not just shingles). He went on to outline the tremendous opportunities for young people coming out of high school or trade school.

Ron Norman, general superintendent of the shingle division, made a presentation on asphalt shingle installation and flashing details. Chris Phillips, project manager gutter division pointed out gutter system components. Lee Mullis, vice-president commercial flat roofing and service was on hand to answer questions as Harry King, assistant project manager commercial flat roofing division, demonstrated welding seams and flashings on TPO. Mark Alarcon, project manager metal division, and Craig Vaughan, logistics superintendent metal division, explained metal roofing details along with anchorage for personal fall arrest systems.

Roof Depot brought their portable roof mockup that’s used for both in-house and client training. The mockup includes metal roofing, gutter, shingle, TPO, and other roofing details. This three-dimensional model provides both a hands-on training experience as well as an excellent visual for large-group presentations.

In addition to the mockup, Roof Depot provided the three-dozen attendees with a 77-page instructional booklet produced specifically for this conference. The booklet covered all material presented as well as additional details and drawings.

The purpose for presenting to this group was to connect with the instructors, all of whom are high school trade and industrial teachers. Roof Depot did put themselves forward as a good place for teachers to send students looking for work. However, the message — beyond the technical training provided — was to let the teachers know that there’s a distinct opportunity and career path for their students in the roofing trade.

Most trade and industrial programs in Georgia that have a construction curriculum tend to focus on framing, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC with very little emphasis on roofing. Part of the reason for this is the fact that the other trades have been proactively associating themselves with groups such as TIEGA for years. They serve on their boards, assist with curriculum development, and become known by association by the students in the programs.

Heath said the roofing industry can do better as a group, but that if individual roofing contractors will become engaged with their local trade and industrial school systems, all will benefit. He asked Roofing Contractor to lend their support to this idea and challenge other roofing contractors to do likewise. Consider yourself challenged. 

See also: All Purpose Professionals: The Roof Depot