A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Reshaping the Construction Industry

When Masters Champions Jackie Burke and Jimmy Demaret built the Champions Club in Houston in the 50s, they wanted to attract members with both character strength and competency, who played golf and life by rules, so that the club would become a community of trust and skill.  And to symbolize this, they installed full-length lockers that close but do not lock.  Today Rolexes, TAG Heuers, credit cards and wads of bills are left in lockers that don’t lock.  They have never had a theft.
October 11, 2017
Competition for skilled workers in this industry is becoming as fierce as it has ever been. In fact, some general contractors in Texas have started hosting happy hours for subcontractors, proving once again just how tight the labor market is. Folks are willing to try new things to try to lock down a reliable labor force in one of the tightest markets we've seen.
October 10, 2017
Nonfarm payroll employment in September declined by 33,000, seasonally adjusted, from August but increased by 1,777,000 (1.2%) year-over-year (y/y), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today. The unemployment rate fell to 4.2% from 4.4% in August. BLS noted, "A sharp employment decline in food services and drinking places and below-trend growth in some other industries likely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey."
October 09, 2017
At a press conference to announce the kick-off a capital campaign to complete SER’s new Workforce Opportunity Center in Houston’s East End, civic and community leaders spoke at the construction site of what will become SER’s new headquarters.  The $17 million project is a joint public-private venture for which $11.5 million has already been raised.  Watch a video in which Brittany Torres shares her story of how she has recently benefitted from SER’s YouthBuild Houston program which helped her receive her GED and complete training to become a certified welder.
October 06, 2017
Experts in the construction industry met at a luncheon hosted by the American Subcontractors Association Houston Chapter recently to talk about employer responsibility for worker safety on the jobsite. The panel discussion focused largely on safety education and risk assessment, employer liabilities in situations of co-employment, and employer responsibilities when there’s a filing with OSHA or a workers’ compensation claim. 
October 05, 2017
Construction spending totaled $1.218 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in August, 0.5% higher than in July, and 2.5% higher year-over-year (y/y) from the August 2016 rate, the Census Bureau reported Monday. Public construction increased 0.7% for the month but declined 5.1% y/y.
October 04, 2017
Houston has been in the headlines a lot after Hurricane Harvey came through our region and dumped up to nearly 52 inches of rain in some places. While a few outliers wrote about Houston’s no zoning “Wild West” expansion, the majority focused on the resilience of our city, the get ‘er done mentality that had strangers helping strangers, and the compassion of our neighbors who dropped everything to lend a hand. As the water recedes, the damage has become clear, and it is, remarkably, much less than expected. This storm’s damage was mostly located in our homes.
October 03, 2017
Across the street the Millennium Tower continues to sink at a rate much higher than expected. Residents of the pricey condo tower have filed a lawsuit against the City of San Francisco claiming that the de-watering of the Salesforce Transit Center caused the soil to lose its bearing capacity thereby creating the problem for the tower, developed by Millennium Partners in New York City.
October 02, 2017
In the midst of an acute labor shortage on the Gulf Coast and after the passage of an immigration crackdown in Texas that’s already creating challenges for recruitment in construction, we now get news from the Associated General Contractors of America that Houston lost the most industry jobs nationally – 4,500 workers – between August 2016 and August 2017.
September 29, 2017
We recently reported on a panel discussion called Undocumented City about the issues surrounding the undocumented immigrants who live in the Houston area.  Following the event which was presented by the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University and the Houston Immigration and Legal Services Collaborative, I spoke with a few of the evening’s attendees.
September 28, 2017