An alumnus of The University of Southern Mississippi
who is a leader in the nation's housing industry predicts an expansion
of the housing market and job opportunities for students majoring
in various engineering technologies.
Bobby Rayburn, president of the National Association
of Home Builders, was the keynote speaker recently for a banquet
hosted by the Southern Miss NAHB chapter. A 1969 graduate of Southern
Miss, Rayburn said the future looks bright for new construction
in the industry, which means not only opportunities for new homeowners,
but also an expanded job market.
"The sky's the limit," said Rayburn, who
lives in Jackson and is president of Rayburn and Associates. "The
truth is, there are a lot of opportunities in the housing industry,
and you can start in one place and wind up in a different place
(within the industry)."
Speaking before students enrolled in the College of
Science and Technology's School of Construction, many of them architectural
and construction engineering technology majors, Rayburn emphasized
the need for skilled professionals at the entry level, which could
lead to lucrative careers as building contractors. "We'll (the
association) help them move up in the business," Rayburn said.
This year, approximately 2 million homes and apartments
will have been constructed, and Rayburn said that through 2012,
approximately 1 million homes will be built each year, meaning more
available jobs in an industry that he said counts for nearly 16
percent of the nation's gross domestic product. "That's a huge
number," he said.
Rayburn said the association's theme this year is
"Housing America's Working Families," people Rayburn said
provide valuable services in society, including teachers, firefighters,
police officers and nurses, among others. The association is working
with public officials to minimize obstacles to homeownership by
reducing red tape, as well as dealing with issues such as large
lot zoning and other land use practices Rayburn said make it difficult
for first-time homebuyers to attain suitable housing.
"Too often, rather than live in the community
where they work, they live in communities miles from their jobs
(to avoid these issues)," he said. "Our focus is to help
families find homes where they work."
A.J. Rosier, president of the Southern Miss NAHB chapter,
said Rayburn's presentation was an inspiration to students interested
in making careers in the housing industry. "I'm really pleased
that he could attend our event, and it's a definite plus that he's
a Southern Miss graduate," Rosier said.
At the banquet, architectural engineering students
Jessica Fly of Scobey and Adam Howard of Millry, Ala., both seniors
at Southern Miss, received a donation of scholarship funds from
the Greater Hattiesburg Homebuilders Association.
Home Builders Institute, the workforce development
arm of the National Association of Home Builders, is dedicated to
the advancement and enrichment of craft education and training programs
serving the needs of the residential construction industry. For
more than 30 years, HBI has trained skilled workers in residential
construction, promoted the industry as a career and helped the NAHB
membership address its need for qualified employees.
The NAHB Student Chapters program is administered
by HBI and works to help enrich the educational experiences of students
enrolled in construction-related studies and training. More than
3,000 student members at 151 high schools, technical schools, colleges,
universities and HBI Job Corps programs enjoy the benefits of membership
in NAHB through participation in competitions, professional networks,
conferences and industry exhibits.
For more information, contact A.J. Rosier at (601)