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GAF Roofing Academy Benefits Graduates and Contractors in Southern California

By Annie Crawford

September 07, 2022

A GAF Roofing Academy instructor shows a student how to cut and measure roofing materials.

This past fall, more than 50 students participated in GAF Roofing Academy training week in Southern California. The free, week-long event united roofing leaders, contractors, and aspiring roofers, eager to learn the trade. The event concluded with a career fair, which allowed students to immediately meet with potential employers. GAF is a leading proponent of roofing education and training, providing countless opportunities like this to align industry leaders, reduce the industry labor shortage, and empower communities from the ground up with long-term, well-paying roofing opportunities.

Helping the Roofing Industry and Graduates

"The roofing industry is dealing with a labor shortage and lack of skilled labor," says Scott Bolt, a third-generation roofer and president of Celoseal Roofing in Orange, California. "GAF is the only manufacturer in the construction—not just the roofing but the construction—industry that is listening to the call that contractors need help. The fact that GAF provides contractors with highly organized events like this, with eager recruits and competent trainers—it means a lot to me."

The Roofing Academy was just as valuable to the graduates. "I got a roofing job starting this Monday," says GAF Roofing Academy graduate Joncele Cavona Soto. Soto, a US military veteran born in Puerto Rico, served for years while deployed around the world. Recently searching job sites, he learned about the Roofing Academy training. "I applied, was accepted, and now I have a roofing job just one month after leaving the military. This is big for me," he says.

Preparing Students for Success

The SoCal training covered three key industry sectors: residential steep-slope roofing, commercial low-slope roofing, and roofing sales and insurance. Students chose one focus, then participated in a five-day course combining in-classroom education and hands-on training. Throughout the event, they gained the necessary basic skills to begin a roofing career. The courses were hosted by three GAF certified contractors, eager to share their expertise with the next generation of roofers.

  • BYLTup from Long Beach, California, taught the residential steep-slope roofing class.
  • Celoseal Roofing from Orange, California, taught the commercial low-slope roofing class.
  • Antis Roofing & Waterproofing from Irvine, California, taught the sales and insurance class.

Roofing Students

"When GAF wants to do anything, Antis wants to partner with them," says Charles Antis, owner of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing. "Yesterday, GAF donated 60 squares of shingles to the Sister League of San Diego that we installed." The GAF Community Matters ethos matters to Antis. "We can go into communities across the country and bring people into the trades that otherwise wouldn't get here. I'm super gung-ho about the GAF Roofing Academy," he says. His business has partnered with GAF on seven roofing classes over the years, plus the roofing sales and insurance course at the Roofing Academy event.

Students weren't required to have experience—just a passion to learn the trade. "I saw GAF Roofing Academy scrolling through Instagram," says 22-year-old Angelique Mojina from Fontana, California. "I clicked and I signed myself up. I wanted to leave warehouse work and this was my opportunity." Now that Mojina has graduated, the ability to put a roof over someone's home gives her a feeling of gratitude and accomplishment.

Securing Jobs and Reducing Labor Shortages

Workers and companies who participated in the GAF Roofing Academy training week enjoyed immediate benefits.

At the career fair, Nathan Blackburn, general manager at Celoseal Roofing, says, "We've hired 20 people today. It's amazing. We've complained for years about not being able to find qualified employees, and now I've got 20 eager people knocking on my door who just spent a week learning how to roof. They want to work; they want this opportunity."

Roofing Students at career fair

The academy also fostered mutually beneficial relationships. Bolt of Celoseal Roofing worked side by side with students in his commercial low-slope roofing class. One student in the class brought him a job application, and he offered him a position with Celoseal Roofing on the spot. "Over the week, I had seen his natural potential, ambition, compassion for co-workers, and leadership skills," he says. "He's looking for a career and a change of direction in his life, and we have something to offer him. He'll onboard Monday, so we have our first recruit."

Fostering a Rewarding Career Path

The GAF Roofing Academy offers a new path forward for students of all walks of life. Jacob Mosprey from Anaheim, California, worked in security for 17 years. "In security, you secure property and protect life, but you're not held in high regard. And there was no growth opportunity," he says. "I have a wife and three kids. I want my wife to know she has a husband who has a respectable career."

Mosprey's journey is a powerful and hard-won story of perseverance. "During my life, I did go through homelessness, and I was incarcerated a couple of times," says Mosprey. "Now... I appreciate my struggles." Participating in the Roofing Academy has given him a new skill set and an opportunity to improve his own life, as well as the lives of others.

Interested in participating in the GAF Roofing Academy and changing your trajectory? Enroll as a student today or partner with GAF Roofing Academy as a contractor.

About the Author

Annie Crawford is a freelance writer in Oakland, CA, covering travel, style, and home improvement. Find more of her work at annielcrawford.com.

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