MALVERN, Pa. — CertainTeed, a North American manufacturer of building materials, is excited to announce the organization's partnership with Fine Homebuilding to #KeepCraftAlive by donating $25,000 to a SkillsUSA scholarship fund. With $20,000 coming from CertainTeed and $5,000 from Fine Homebuilding, the total amount directly impacts the scholarship that recognizes deserving active members and alumni who have a passion for the trades and are planning to pursue industry certifications and attend #KeepCraftAlive-affiliated school programs, community colleges, and undergraduate programs.

The scholarship, applied to the 2017-2018 academic year for five eligible recipients, is the ultimate effort to encourage the youth of today to further their education in the construction trades. With the noted gap between a growing housing industry and a shortage of trained, qualified labor, the focus is on closing the skills gap.

In fact, a recent study by the Associated General Contractors of America found that 86 percent of almost 1,400 firms surveyed were having difficulty filling available positions for carpenters, supervisors, and additional industry titles. Now, more than ever, initiatives that address the skills gap have an added importance.

“As an organization with a rich history in the construction industry, we are incredibly proud to be involved in a cause that gives back to the next generation of people who have a passion for the trades,” said Mara L. Villanueva-Heras, vice president of corporate marketing, CertainTeed. “The time is now to make sure the talent pipeline continues to be filled, so the tradesmen and women of tomorrow are prepared to successfully enter the workforce.”

Scholarship recipients are selected based on a series of criteria, which include an application, a 300-word essay, and a letter of support from a teacher, administrator, SkillsUSA advisor, or educational or professional mentor. The following winners were acknowledged at a special reception held June 22 during the 53rd Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky:

  • Harris Lanier: (Construction), Sanford, North Carolina;
  • Isaiah Elam: (Carpentry), McCall Creek, Missouri;
  • Sam Vitez (Carpentry) Whitehouse Station, New Jersey;
  • Will Lee: (HVAC) Leland, Missouri; and
  • Eddie Escamilla: (Electrical) Las Vegas.

“We are so grateful CertainTeed and Fine Homebuilding have stepped up for this cause focusing on the next generation,” said Tim Lawrence, executive director, SkillsUSA. “We are thrilled to be joined in honoring these incredibly deserving men and women."

For more information about CertainTeed and their mission to #KeepCraftAlive, visit

Publication date: 7/4/2017

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