Hiring the right people and training and keeping workers for the job ahead are major challenges for the plumbing industry, and common concerns for contractors, wholesalers and engineers.

The construction industry will need to add 100,000 jobs each year through 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while also filling an additional 90,000 openings annually as retiring baby boomers and others leave the industry. But while the job market for skilled trades is booming, interest in joining the industry is a bust.

As a result, the editors and publishers of Plumbing & Mechanical, Supply House Times and PM Engineer have teamed up to provide its readers with solutions to attract new workers to the plumbing industry and provide them with the training they need to stay for the long haul.

The magazines will present “Innovative Thinking 2006: Hiring-Training-Retention,” June 12-13, at the Emerald Pointe Resort, near Atlanta, Ga. The one-and-a-half-day conference will feature multiple speakers specifically designed to address individual concerns of contractors, wholesalers and engineers. We will have more details in future issues, but here are a few seminar highlights:

  • Ricardo González, founder and CEO of Bilingual America, will discuss “Success With Hispanics,” an in-depth look at how to understand and work with Hispanic people, a fast-growing minority in this country. His company has worked with Masco, Certainteed, Georgia Pacific and many more organizations.

    • PM columnist Paul Ridilla will examine “Hiring And Retention: One And The Same!” Ridilla will delve into some dos and don'ts of recruiting and managing a construction workforce, with an emphasis on the roles of discipline and motivation. Ridilla, who has written a monthly column for PM since its first issue in 1984, has more than 60 years in the construction business as a worker, manager, owner and consultant.

    • Another longtime PM columnist, Ellen Rohr, will lead a roundtable discussion on attracting women to the trades.

    • Human resources consultant Jesse Elliot will talk about the “Cost Of Turnover.” Using a concept he calls the “Psychological Contract,” Elliot will examine why people leave key positions, how that decision is made and what employers can do to change it.

    Elliott has spent more than 30 years dealing with human resource issues as a manager and consultant. For the last 10 years, Elliott has consulted for a variety of different companies. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago, and has previously worked as the executive vice president and chief administrative office at Sanwa Business Credit Corp. and has held management positions with Inland Steel and Continental Bank.

    Other seminars will cover training for the service contractor; recruiting and training for the distribution industry; and using the Internet to recruit workers in the plumbing industry.

    Finally, the conference will take a look at product training and how to use the American Supply Association's Product Pro, a recently updated self-study program and Supply House Times' College of Product Knowledge.

    Emerald Pointe Resort & Conference Center features 216 rooms and suites and an 18-hole golf course. Guests have unlimited access to a 24-hour fitness center, jogging trails and heated swimming pool. Private massage and spa treatments are available by appointment. The resort is located on Lake Lanier Islands, about a half-hour drive from Atlanta.

    Visit www.PMmag.com for more updates on the conference and its speakers, as well as future online registration.