A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Reshaping the Construction Industry

Today was Tax Day for millions of Americans, but not for some in our industry.  The current situation with our broken immigration system and the smuggling of workers into the...
Jim Kollaer's picture
April 18, 2011
Previously we told you about a lecture at Texas A&M University about Ethical Dilemmas in Construction Industry Labor Practices.  Following the February 1 lecture,...
Scott Beatty's picture
April 15, 2011
I was asked to say a few words about the approach to the Marek Workforce Development session that we noted in several blogs recently.  The session, according to the...
Jim Kollaer's picture
April 14, 2011
In an earlier post about the progress of the construction of the World Trade Center complex and memorial, we told you about the invitation from the Port Authority of New York and...
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
April 11, 2011
On January 12, Marek Brothers Systems Houston held a meeting to establish goals for improving and increasing their workforce.  This post is a continuation of a series we are bringing to you about this extraordinary event.Marek’s Director of Workforce Development, Katrina Kersch, opened the session stating that the two objectives for the day were to prepare for the future and to improve the company’s existing workforce.  She introduced Jim Kollaer who was present to lead the 24 superintendents, foremen and managers through a process to determine
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
April 08, 2011
As the economy and the construction industry begin to recover, it is highly likely that we will experience a severe shortage of skilled workers.  In fact, even in a depressed market, many employers struggle to find qualified craft professionals.  With the average age of the craft professional approaching 50, and the projection that 20% of the construction workforce will retire in the next 2-4 years, the time for action is now.Employers should be readying their workforce for the upturn by focusing on the needs of their incumbent workers.  As recovery begins, attracting young new entrants and providing training for their employees will be a must for any successful contractor, but plans for accomplishing this should be made now.  
Don Whyte's picture
April 07, 2011
Last week the Texas House of Representatives Committee on Business & Industry heard testimony in Austin relating to House Bill 2989 which would establish the Workplace Fraud Prevention Act (WFPA) in Texas.   The bill speaks directly to the construction industry and attempts to define what an employee in the construction industry is in order to curtail the rampant misclassification of employees as independent contractors in the state.State Representative Joseph Deshotel, who chairs the committee, is sponsoring the bill, and introduced it that day before the committee.
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
April 05, 2011
Randy Travis, no not the Grammy-winner in country music (whose dad, by the way, ran a construction business), the investigative reporter from Fox 5 in Atlanta, has been doing a series of investigations into the use of illegal workers and subsequent wage theft issue that arise when those workers are not paid.  In the latest episode, he interviewed the owners of Perez Masonry in Atlanta.The company is owned by two brothers who are both illegal immigrants, yet they just worked on a military project in Atlanta where they were “sub-subs” to a specialty contractor that they now claim has not paid them for their work.  In the video report, Travis asks:“How could this happen?  After all, under Georgia law, any public contractor has to check
Jim Kollaer's picture
April 03, 2011
Construction site risks can come from many directions.  A worker twists his back while unloading a dolly of sheetrock.  A new employee misses a briefing on PPE (Personal...
Stacy Gunderson's picture
March 31, 2011
As a workforce development professional in the construction industry, I am always excited to hear about new initiatives that support the skilled trades.In 2009, Senator Wendell Mitchell and Senator Del Marsh co-sponsored Act 220 in the Alabama legislature that resulted in the creation of the Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute.  The creation of the ACRI is significant for a couple of reasons.  It is funded through a fee levied on employers based on wages paid to skilled construction workers on commercial and industrial jobs across the state, and it represents a united effort from the private and public sector.The ACRI’s Go Build Alabama campaign is a full out effort to inform and educate the citizens of Alabama about the opportunities for great careers in construction.  The campaign kicked off on Labor Day of 2010 and featured spokesperson Mike Rowe who is the creator, executive producer and host of the popular Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs.  The Go Build Alabama website offers information on the industry outlook, profiles of the various trades, links to training and apprenticeship opportunities, and a sign up page where readers can get assistance in navigating entry into the construction industry.
Katrina Kersch's picture
March 29, 2011