The commercial and residential roofing industry is booming, with demand for 19,000 new jobs expected by 2028. And while most people join the roofing industry for a fulfilling career, it also pays well, with a starting annual wage of $19.22 per hour. This is why now is a particularly good time to begin a career in the sector. A great way to get started is by enrolling in the GAF Roofing Academy, which provides hands-on training and helps students build the skills needed for entry-level positions in residential and commercial roofing.
We sat down with a recent graduate, Rosalyn (Roz) Jones, to discuss her experience with the program and how it has impacted her life. She notes that while she initially felt intimidated to be a woman working in a male-dominated trade, she found that respect and teamwork are the best tools for success. Roz has since learned she's one of many women getting involved in the roofing industry.
Q&A with Roz Jones
To start off, can you tell us about yourself?
I'm from Woodbridge, New Jersey. I'm a carpentry student at Edison Job Corps. I have a pretty big family, most of them are from Newark. They inspire me every day.
What led you to enroll at the GAF Roofing Academy and what did you want to achieve?
I was pretty excited about building homes—to have another skill that could help me build houses, not just for my family but thousands of others! It was a chance to learn how to be a better person and stay more focused so I can pass on skills to other people.
What are you most proud of, having completed your training?
Enrolling at the Edison Job Corps is one of the first times I've tried something new in my life. I'm mostly proud of just getting through the program. One of the challenges that I've had in my life has been mental health; when I was a teen, I struggled. A lot of people put me down and didn't believe I could achieve great things. And sadly, I believed them. But I've grown so much and never thought I would make it this far.
So, I'm proud of myself for all I've done. At the beginning, I was nervous to take a big step toward my career, like enrolling in the program. But I'm really glad I did!
What did the GAF Roofing Academy mean to you?
Once I got accepted into the Edison Job Corps, I paved my own way and built up confidence. That means a great deal to me. Being around a supportive community like at the academy is motivational. My confidence is up there now and I feel pretty good about it. I'm just glad that I had this opportunity.
What was one of the most important things you learned at the GAF Roofing Academy?
I learned that teamwork is very important. You can do things on your own, but many times jobs are more efficient (and fun) when you have a strong team working together. Seeing other people being in the roofing industry and learning about the many other jobs there are besides just putting down roofing. It could expand out to so many other things! That inspires me to keep working hard and see what else I can do with my hands.
What does the roofing trade mean to you?
It's important for me to protect someone's home because seeing people out on the streets—without homes or with damaged homes—well, it hurts my heart. I want people to feel safe and everyone to have a roof over their head. Everybody wants that.
How does it feel to be a woman in a male-dominated industry?
It's a little difficult because hard manual labor is involved. It takes a lot of strength and courage. So people are surprised when I tell them that the work comes naturally to me, that it feels easy, and, most importantly, that it makes me happy. I hope that by saying this, I motivate others to get out of their comfort zone too.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a career in the roofing trade?
Always be yourself and never let anyone tell you that you can't do something because you absolutely can! It's all in your mindset and the way that you lead and believe in yourself. Show people your full potential and you'll never stop succeeding.
Hear more from Roz about her experience with the GAF Roofing Academy and Edison Job Corps:
Building Your Career Path
If you're looking for a new line of work and are interested in pursuing a trade, the roofing industry is worth considering. With numerous career paths and options available, now is the time to get involved.
Explore the curriculum and opportunities offered through the GAF Roofing Academy, which combines classroom and on-the-roof training to help you build the skills needed for an entry-level position. The program provides access to opportunities from the national network of thousands of independent, GAF-certified contractors.