Thaddeus Stevens College to begin new Residential Remodeling Program

his Hybrid of the College’s Carpentry Program Addresses Growing Need For Remodeling Contractors


“The need for skilled, educated residential remodelers has grown over the years,” commented Charles Byers, Residential Remodeling instructor at Thaddeus Stevens College. “In Lancaster County alone, remodeling jobs in the construction fields have grown and in some cases, outpaced the new construction market.” According to research done by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, the overall remodeling market has indeed outpaced the broader housing industry.

According to the research, “As the economy strengthens and house prices recover, spending on discretionary home improvements – kitchen and bath remodeling, room additions and outside attachments such as porches and decks – rose by almost $6 billion between 2011 and 2013.”

This stand-alone, construction discipline utilizes state-of-the-art methods and materials to keep current homeowners in their existing houses. Residential Remodeling adds living space to existing homes and retro fits existing structures with modern conveniences and updated building codes and standards.

“In recent years we have seen numerous incentives for homeowners to retrofit their homes with energy efficient windows and doors,” stated Charles Byers. “As this trend continues, skilled remodelers, equipped with the knowledge of the specific standards and codes necessary for these projects, become more and more in demand.”

Baby boomers are also driving the demand for residential remodelers. As this generation enters their retirement years, their spending has increased, accounting for almost half of all remodeling spending in 2013. In addition, the share of improvement spending nationwide by homeowners age 65 and over increased from 13% in 2005 to 23% in 2013. Finally, as this generation grows older, the demand for accessibility increases as well. Moving bedrooms to the first floor, adding chair rails, ramps and other easier to access features has driven up demand for remodeling within the Baby Boomer generation as well. (sourced from Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University)

“One of the things we do at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology before beginning a program is examine the job outlook and salary potential for our students,” stated Director of Career Services for TSCT, Laurie Grove. ”In the case of residential remodeling, we are seeing economic and industry attributes to support growth within the remodeling industry. Both Baby Boomers and Millenials are strengthening the remodeling market. Growth in the number of general remodeling firms with payrolls have accelerated each year since the construction industry bottomed out a few years ago.”

Remodelers are unique in the fact they encompass very specific skills based in the carpentry field. General remodeling skills may include all phases of carpentry, insulation drywall, painting, roofing, siding and interpretation of designs and building plans.

“We have taken in to consideration all facets of remodeling when examining potential growth for the industry,” commented Laurie Grove. “For example, by 2022, Pennsylvania will see nearly 10,000 new carpenters. When you look at the numbers for the entire country, there is an expected growth of nearly 200,000 new jobs in the carpentry field. Given the specificity of the remodeling industry, many residential remodelers will easily fill these positions.”

In regard to salaries, the average median salary for a carpenter in Pennsylvania is $40,300, just $200 below the national average of $40,500. “Again, given the specific jobs remodelers will be focused on,” stated Grove, “these salaries could be higher for remodelers. Any time you hire a specialist, no matter what the field, you will usually pay more than some with just general knowledge of the subject.”

(Infographic Source: Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, Improving America’s Housing – Emerging Trends in the Remodeling Market, 2015, All rights reserved.)

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