By Staff Writer, PHCC-National Association
PHCC Strategic Partner Bradford White on its responsibility to help shrink the workforce shortage … and strengthen PHCC member businesses.
PHCC relies tremendously on our industry leaders to support today’s p-h-c professionals and to prepare the next generation of our industry’s workforce. Strategic Partner Bradford White has been instrumental in calling attention to career opportunities in the traditional skilled trades – especially during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – and in urging an industry-wide focus on workforce development to close the labor gap and recruit a new generation of young workers.
Here’s a glimpse into our recent conversation with Carl Pinto, Jr., Bradford White’s director of marketing communications, on what the manufacturer is doing to boost efforts industry wide, how it is recruiting and retaining employees at its location in Middleville, Michigan, and what it’s doing to help PHCC members strengthen their own businesses moving forward.
PHCC: Our industry continues to struggle to close the labor gap in the skilled trades. With that, the global pandemic has magnified the attention on overlooked career opportunities, such as those in the p-h-c industry. Bradford White is among other organizations involved in ongoing efforts to combat stereotypes about careers in the trades. Tell our readers about those efforts.
BW: Bradford White has lent its voice and support to numerous organizational efforts, such as those conducted by PHCC, to increase awareness of job opportunities in the skilled trades. Additionally, we have started to focus a portion of our own public relations efforts on the topic of p-h-c industry opportunities to increase awareness and debunk any misconceptions that might exist regarding our industry and the careers within it. Later this year, we plan to launch a Bradford White workforce development-related initiative and look forward to sharing more information about it soon. We see how this issue affects all facets of the industry, in addition to the skilled trades segment, and believe we have a responsibility to help educate the general public on this critical societal challenge.
PHCC: What, specifically, is Bradford White presently doing to attract and retain needed workers at your company?
BW: In order to bring more employees on board at our Middleville, Michigan, manufacturing location, we have been conducting regional radio advertising to increase awareness about Bradford White. Some of the radio spots are recruitment-specific, talking about the benefits of working at Bradford White. We also have the Scholars Program, where we pay tuition for up to four semesters for part-time employees in our Middleville manufacturing plant. We find this to be an effective way to help people meet their educational goals and have them get to know our company and the industry at large. We hope that the exposure and insights gained possibly drive them to a Bradford White or other industry-related career.
PHCC: As a PHCC Strategic Partner, Bradford White is represented on the PHCC Board of Directors. How does Bradford White benefit from your participation on this Board?
BW: Our Board participation and long-time affiliation with PHCC has helped us to identify ways that Bradford White can help all of our contractor customers. The feedback we receive is invaluable, as we get to hear first-hand the challenges facing contractors. The PHCC relationship also helps us to build strong relationships with other industry influencers through their regulatory, education and workforce development initiatives.
PHCC: What role do you see Bradford White playing in helping PHCC members to strengthen their businesses this year?
BW: We believe our role is to continue to be a valued business partner to our customers to help grow their businesses, and that doesn’t end with simply providing high-quality water- and space-heating products. First and foremost, we listen to PHCC members so that we can understand the evolving challenges they face and then respond accordingly. Our exchanges with PHCC members have and will continue to help direct us on new or modified product designs as well as the tools we constantly make available and refurbish, such as RightSpec® and For The Pro®. In addition, we work hard to support national, state and local legislation that helps PHCC contractors bring relevant hot water and heating solutions to their commercial and residential customers. Given the administration change, we expect regulatory activity to accelerate, and we plan to work with PHCC to ensure that its members’ comments and concerns are heard.