FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — This summer, Advanced Roofing Inc. hired its 500th employee, and we celebrated the milestone thanks to some outside-the-box strategies for attracting talent. We expect to fill more than 100 additional jobs this year ranging from sales, accounting and HR, to project management, roofing production, service and solar installation. 

We’ve pulled out all the stops to recruit, train and keep good people. A faster, higher-level career path is now possible in the roofing and solar industries, with salaries ranging from about $30,000 to over $100,000.

With Florida’s strong demand for commercial reroofing, solar rooftop arrays and solar carports, Advanced Roofing’s team is reaching out to non-traditional talent sources, from veterans and women, to high school and college career counselors. We’re also a leading industry voice — advocating for the regulatory and legal immigration reform supported by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA).

Despite statewide outreach in full gear, demand is so strong that access to foreign workers will remain vital for the roofing industry. We’re working with the NRCA and others to relay that message to legislators to achieve change. That includes expanding E-Verify and allowing workers to enter the U.S. legally when the economy needs them, as stipulated in the proposed Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act (H.R. 1740) that’s being debated on Capitol Hill.

We simply can’t find enough employees, and the misconception that workers with temporary protected status (TPS) and those with seasonal H2B visas would take the jobs of able-bodied U.S. workers, at a lower wage, does not correlate to facts. With 22 current TPS employees from Haiti, Honduras and El Salvador — including three foremen trained by the company, working well and paying taxes — the prospect of arbitrarily ending TPS workers’ stay in the U.S. is pure folly. Granting TPS workers permanent resident status makes sense for the U.S. companies, communities and the economy.

Advanced Roofing also employs 24 workers through the H2B visa program, whose visas were approved by the U.S. Department of Labor for three years based on the urgent need for more roofing workers after Hurricane Irma.

We’ve grown and diversified this company since 1983 to include HVAC, electrical, service, metal and crane divisions as well as creating our sister company Advanced Green Technologies, Florida’s largest solar contractor. As early adopters, advanced technology is critical to streamline workflow and do more with its existing team.

A key to Advanced Roofing’s recruitment efforts is the Florida Registered Apprentice Program. The firm spearheaded its partnership with the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) beginning in 2014. So far, eight employees have graduated from the intensive three-year work/study program and 35 more are enrolled, at no cost to the employees. The state of Florida pays tuition for the registered apprenticeship program, and Advanced Roofing and other participating contractors pay the cost of books and fees for their employees. Through Broward State College, apprentices can obtain college credits for the program.

Outreach in partnership with Veterans Florida is also adding veterans to Advanced Roofing’s staff, with the company holding two-week “boot camps” for accelerated orientation and training in roofing skills.

Being active in National Women in Roofing’s South Florida Council helps Advanced Roofing recruit, mentor and support the advancement of more women in the industry. Currently the firm’s CFO and controller are female, as are several senior and assistant project managers, the IT manager, the HR manager and talent manager, office managers and much of the administrative staff.

High school and community career fairs and working with the county’s Career Source Broward workforce development agency are proving productive for the talent hunt, with a commitment to educating counselors, students and families about industry opportunities.

Current employees can also benefit from the company’s referral bonus program, which offers cash incentives to an employee who gives a referral and the new hire, after 90 days of employment. Also important are the firm’s inclusive, respectful culture and competitive benefits, from insurance and tuition assistance to vacations and company special events. Parking under solar carports at the headquarters campus reinforces the brand.

Rob Kornahrens is the founder, president and CEO of Advanced Roofing. Visit and Advanced Green Technologies for more information.