Shining a Spotlight on Careers in Construction

Did you know that it takes an average of 22 different subcontractors to build a home?

October is Careers in Construction Month and it’s a perfect time to recognize the contributions of all the professionals working in residential construction as well as highlight the rewarding careers available in the industry.

Indeed, a home builder relies on a number of highly trained workers to get the job done right. This includes dozens of skilled artisans and professionals, including carpenters, architects, engineers, plumbers, electricians, painters and landscapers. Analysis from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shows that 70% of builders typically use somewhere between 11 and 30 subcontractors to build a single-family home.

As the housing market continues to strengthen, home builders across the country and here in Harrisonburg & Rockingham County are seeking skilled workers – such as carpenters, framers and roofers – to help them build the American Dream. In fact, according to NAHB analysis of the federal government’s latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, the number of open construction sector jobs (on a seasonally adjusted basis) rose to 214,000 in July.

This means there is ample opportunity for motivated students seeking a rewarding career path. Residential construction workers consistently express high job satisfaction. And average salaries in [insert local area] remain competitive with other industries in our area. For example, [insert state-specific wage data from:]

The building trades offer a great career path. And, the residential construction industry is one of the few sectors where demand for new workers is rising. Parents, teachers, counselors and students must once again recognize that a vocational education can offer satisfying career paths and financial gains.

To learn more about job opportunities in Harrisonburg & Rockingham County, visit our website.

Harrisonburg Seafood Fest

Remodeling Your Bath On A Tight Budget (By Holly Thorne)

Mother Nature threw us a bone this past weekend with spring-like weather, moving our thoughts away from fire-lit evenings to those of firing up the grill. While now is the time to consider cleaning gutters, pressure washing your siding, and planting grass, how about that one room inside that you blocked off during the holidays. The one that you journeyed guests upstairs and through your bedroom just to avoid? Yes, that outdated bathroom. It is still there, with the peeling linoleum floor, calcium deposits and old-fashioned countertops, just waiting for attention.

While you may think a bathroom renovation is not in the budget, the good news is small spaces don’t need to cost a fortune to update.  This Old House estimates DIYers can update this space, adding value to your home, for as little as $1,000 depending on the projects you want to undertake.

To freshen up your space on the cheap, consider the following tips gathered from around the web:

  1. Use tile sparingly, sticking to high-impact areas like the floor, using instead high quality satin-finish paint to avoid mold and mildew, or by incorporating other materials in hidden areas like the shower.
  2. If granite is your choice for countertops, widen your color options to save on the expense of this season’s most popular colors or look at imperfect countertops that the sink basin will cover. White is always a classic color choice that goes with everything and gives you freedom to play with paint color or seasonal linen changes.
  3. Update light fixtures, sink faucets, showerheads, towel racks, and drawer pulls. These relatively small investments can provide big bang for their buck. Water-efficient fixtures will help you save money in the long run and are also good for the environment, too.
  4. Pay attention to detail. Updating window treatments, bath linens, re-caulking the tubs or adding a fresh coat of white paint to moldings can make quite a difference.
  5. Make it your own. Be on trend by buying used dressers or overstocked plumbing features from yard sales, flea markets, Etsy, eBay, or your local retailer. You can build your own vanity or construct unique towel racks at a fraction of the cost and make your remodeled space completely you own.
  6. Don’t be afraid of sweat equity. Minor projects can be done over a weekend but remember to call in a professional if structural changes, complicated electrical or plumbing work is required.

As warmer weather draws us out of hibernation, spending a little bit of time on your bathroom now will prevent you from detouring guests during summer cookouts, and even better, will be one less thing you have to worry about once the holidays roll around again.

If your bathroom is an eyesore, share your photos for a chance to win a $1,000 gift certificate to Valley retailer, Randy’s Do It Best Hardware, sponsored by Farmers & Merchants Bank and VBS Mortgage.

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Mercy House Building Supply Store

The Mercy House Building Supply Store is requesting that you consider making a tax deductable donation of your excess building materials to us. We will be accepting donations of kitchen cabinets, plumbing supplies, doors, windows, sinks, lavatories, tubs, excess lumber, paint, masonry products, roofing, dry wall, fasteners, wire, pipe and more. We will pick up your donations at no cost.

As new building materials increase in cost the demand for used affordable building materials is skyrocketing. In addition to greater affordability, putting used and recycled building materials into remodeling/repair projects recycles materials otherwise destined for landfills.

The expansion benefits the Mercy House Mission to feed, clothe and house homeless families with dependent children in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County by increasing our revenue stream in a time of uncertainty of other sources of funding such as grants. This helps to make us more self sufficient, independent and sustainable for the long term. Another great benefit is providing additional opportunities for employment and training for residents of the Mercy House as they transition from homelessness. For more information visit