Attracting new workers into the roofing industry is tough enough, let alone skilled workers, which is why roofing professionals are rolling out a robust, nationwide apprenticeship program to bolster the industry.

In this session, learn about this exciting new apprenticeship program from Steve Little, president and head coach of KPost Roofing and Waterproofing; Ron Kornahrens, president of Advanced Roofing; Tony Rader, vice president of National Roofing Partners; and John Esbenshade, Jr., director of workforce development at the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA).

IRE 2022 Session Seminar

Title: Roofing Apprenticeship Program Certified by Department of Labor
Speakers: Steve Little, CEO, National Roofing Partners ; Ron Kornahrens, President, Advanced Roofing; Tony Rader, Vice President, National Roofing Partners; John Esbenshade, Jr., director of workforce development, NRCA.
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 1, 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Room: Booth 2101

The roofing apprenticeship program aims to address the workforce shortage plaguing the industry by building a career path from a two-year education to credentials and certification.

“This is going to be the start of bringing people into our industry and they can learn a trade and be certified,” said Little. “The reality of the matter is this is going to be a universal program nationwide.”

First formed by the Florida Southeast Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chapter in 2016, the curriculum encompasses both steep-slope and low-slope roofing. In 2020, members of the NRCA CTE Workforce Committee brought this as a precursor to the ProCertification program.

They encouraged the NRCA to work with the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) to update outdated curriculum. Once approved, the collaboration launched a two-year roofing apprenticeship program that ABC adopted and implemented nationally in January.

“ABC National is developing a marketing campaign to go out nationally because they see the need,” said Rader during a presentation on the topic at Best of Success 2021. “Only 80 roofers (out of 500,000 apprentices) are apprenticeship trained. Folks, we’ve got to improve that.”

Consisting of two levels, the second edition of roofing was written in partnership with the NRCA and meets the U.S. Department of Labor’s standards for a time-based apprenticeship program. New Steep-Slope Roofer and Low-Slope Roofer interim credentials provide additional specialized career paths. Roofing Level 1 is currently available with Level 2 coming early 2022.

The curriculum has been updated with steep-slope and low-slope roofing systems, safety, drawings, substrates and specific training for various roof systems. Two detailed modules, “Roofing Safety” (16202) and “Fall Protection Orientation” (75901), teach safety practices being used today.

“We’re really teaching apprentices what the construction industry is all about,” Little said. 

Pick up practical tips and advice from professionals who have worked on apprenticeship programs, such as why paying apprentices to be trained is the way to go. It's estimated that every dollar invested into training yields an estimated $1.30 to $3 thanks to higher quality work and reduced turnover.

The following roofing companies and associations contributed to the curriculum: Advanced Roofing; The Arizona Roofer; Deer Park Roofing; Don Kennedy Roofing; Eagle Roofing; Florida Roof; GAF; Garlock-French; Mid-South Roof Systems; NRCA; Nations Roof; West Roofing Systems; and, PDM Architects.

“We have 55,000 roofing companies in America, this program is long overdue, so we’re excited about rolling it out,” Little said.