ORLANDO - The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and co-located International Builders Show (IBS) opened this morning to a steady stream of woodworking professionals on hand for a closeup look at the latest design trends and innovations by some 600 KBIS and more than 1,000 IBS exhibitors, filling nearly 1 million square feet of exhibit space. An estimated 80,000 woodworking professionals are expected to attend the  Design & Construction Week shows, which take place Jan. 9-11 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

This year marks the fifth time KBIS and IBS have combined under the Design & Construction Week umbrella. KBIS and IBS are organized respectively by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Products on display of interest to the secondary wood products market include kitchen and bath cabinetry and related products, closets and home organization systems, wood components, decorative and functional hardware, and flooring.

Crowds of people about to enter the show.

Among the morning's highlights were the opening presentation by NFL Hall of Famer and TV sports analyst Terry Bradshaw,  the popular DesignBites short segments, and the kickoff of year two of the This Old House Generation Next campaign, to help raise money to benefit the Skilled Labor Fund, which is an industry-wide effort to address the shortage of skilled labor entering the residential construction market.

“Raising awareness of the building trades as a rewarding career path and mentoring a new generation of tradespeople has been an extremely gratifying experience this year,” said Norm Abram, This Old House master carpenter. “I’m looking forward to continuing our effort to reinvigorate interest in our industry among young people and closing the skilled jobs gap.”

“Closing the skilled labor gap is critical to the future health of our industry,” said NKBA vice president of industry relations Suzie Williford. “Without an army of skilled tradesmen and women, all construction projects will take much longer and cost much more. Design & Construction Week is the perfect place to bring attention to the career opportunities in a growing industry for well-paying trade professions, and avoiding the burden of college debt. The NKBA is proud to support Generation Next and be a part of such an important cause.”

“Addressing our industry’s labor shortages is the number one issue for NAHB members,” said NAHB CEO Jerry Howard. “Joining forces with our trade partner organizations on this shared initiative allows us to direct even more focus on reaching all sectors of the industry and work together to build the future workforce of the residential construction industry.”

Stay tuned to twitter.com/WoodworkingBiz for up-to-date information about the show.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.