All of us in the franchise industry feel the weight of the skilled labor shortage that continues to impact businesses across the country. At the same time, millions of young people face an uncertain future and competitive job market. According to a recent statistic, 1 in 9 people ages 16-24 are not in school and don’t have a job. Today’s children and teens are the future of our workforce, and it is incumbent on all of us to create and enhance resources that will coach these young people about the jobs available to them. 

Some changes in our country’s culture over the past several years have contributed to these challenging labor trends. Experts often point to school systems that present four-year colleges as the ultimate goal for all students and that don’t offer job training. Mix that in with a global pandemic that saw enrollment in hands-on vocational degree programs fall in our newly remote world.  

There is such value in the next generation, which often brings with it novel approaches and fresh thinking towards a business’s operations and corporate culture. When we provide youth with opportunities to explore careers and prepare them with skills they need in the workforce, we set up them and ourselves for future success.  


What We Can Do

Fortunately, there are actions we can take to combat these trends. Most of us already know about the importance of mentoring. The impact of a mentor who can impart their life experience and provide support, guidance and opportunities to a young person cannot be overstated. Youth apprenticeship programs and internships are also valuable ways that companies are lending a hand to the next generation of potential leaders and helping to give them short-term, practical experiences to learn about careers, develop networks and experience the workplace. 

Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a fantastic organization taking action to address these issues. For more than160 years, the organization has provided a safe place for kids and teens to learn and grow. Clubs offer caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Boys & Girls Clubs programming promotes academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. Over 5,200 Clubs serve 3.3 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. They are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in Boys & Girls Club of America-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. 

Earlier this year, Authority Brands partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to support their mission of providing youth in our communities with a brighter future. The goal is to introduce young people to a variety of career paths and opportunities through career coaching and workforce readiness educational programs. These resources and tools equip Club members with the necessary skills needed to pursue jobs. One such resource is the Workforce Readiness Program, which focuses on providing kids with career exploration/coaching, job readiness education, and on-the-job work-based learning experiences. 

As a leading home services company with brands such as One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and Mister Sparky in its portfolio, Authority Brands is keenly aware there has been a significant drop in experts that are available to complete technical jobs. NPR reported earlier this year that the application rate for young people seeking technical jobs — like plumbing, building and electrical work — declined by 49% from 2020 and 2022. The reality is fewer of them are opting for traditionally hands-on jobs in the skilled trade and technical industries.


Making a Difference in Our Communities

With a commitment to turning these numbers around, Authority Brands is volunteering its diverse array of home service franchise teams, both at the corporate and local franchisee level, to introduce Boys & Girls Club members to opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workforce. The program allows each franchise owner to tailor their involvement to best suit their business model, giving them the ability to make an impact in their own community.

For example, in August there was an action-packed entrepreneurship day for the young people of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. Club members visited Woofie’s of Ashburn-Lansdowne, a professional pet care company, and DoodyCalls of Northern Virginia, a pet waste removal company. They learned the ins and outs of the two home service brands, as well as the rewarding career paths available to young people across the franchise industry. Club members also met with franchise owners of both brands during a lunch and learn to hear their best career advice and their experiences as business owners.

The goal is to interact with teens in ways that are meaningful and will help them prepare for life and work experiences. As Club members visited the two franchises, they saw firsthand what it’s like to run the day-to-day operations of a business and how young people like them can develop the skills needed to succeed in their careers. 

This partnership marks a new chapter in Authority Brands’ commitment to providing its franchisees the chance to further tap into the communities they serve through outreach, career coaching, fundraising, tutoring, and more. The franchise industry as a whole has an excellent opportunity to do the same, making a real impact on the future of our workforces and our companies.  


Heather McLeod, Chief Growth Officer at Authority Brands

Heather first joined The Cleaning Authority in 2015 and has been an integral part of the formation of Authority Brands and its success, bringing her passion for collaboration, customer experience, and process to everything she does. She served as Chief Marketing Officer for Authority Brands from its formation in 2017 until 2022, when she assumed the new role of Chief Growth Officer. Heather is personally involved in Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore as a volunteer since 2019. In 2022, Heather officially joined the Board of Directors of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore. Heather also serves at the University of Louisville College of Business YUM! CGFE Board of Advisors.