Everyday, until the end of this decade, 10,000 “baby boomers” will retire. When Mike McCoy, the founder of Skillbillies, realized that many of the boomers might have skills going to waste, he began researching different sectors of the American economy where the demand for skilled labor was limited by supply. His research led him to the “Joint Center For Housing” a bi-annual report published by the Harvard Business School. After reading several issues he was stunned to learn how this $1 Trillion need for skilled labor was greatly underserved. Rather than get into the tall weeds of how this situation materialized over the past 30 years, Mr. McCoy came to the conclusion that baby boomers might be the answer to supply.
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For those of you interested in how Mike McCoy came up the name Skillbillies, it was somewhat inadvertent. When an Arctic cold front froze all the pipes under his 100 year old craftsman home, he called his insurance agent and was told they didn’t have enough licensed plumbers in the area and wouldn’t be able to send someone to his home for at least six weeks. Mike asked if this was a nationwide problem. “It’s critical,” the agent answered, “skilled workers are really hard to find.” Later that day, a neighbor told Mike he knew some old guys that could do the work. The next morning a couple of vintage Ford trucks came through his gate carrying four “elderly gentlemen” who looked like they just walked off the set of Duck Dynasty. After the work was completed Mike paid the foreman and laughingly said, “You guys are a bunch of Skillbillies.” The foreman yelled out to the other three workers, “McCoy just called us Skillbillies.” To Mike’s relief, thinking they were going to be offended, one of them said…”I like that name, it’s cool.” The two other workers said they liked the name too and that’s how Skillbillies came to be.