A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

The Big Conversation: Employees, Employers and the Economy

A Houston construction executive is in the national spotlight this week for a conversation about how to improve working conditions and create a real career path for blue collar men and women from coast to coast.

Mike Holland, Division President of Marek Brothers Systems, Inc. will join Workers Defense Project Policy Analyst Emily Timm and others in Washington for a forum moderated by NPR’s Yuki Noguchi.  With support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Ford Foundation, this series, Reinventing Low Wage Work: A Discussion on the Workforce in Residential Construction, takes an explicit look at the growth of occupations like construction, nursing assistants, food servers and cashiers, and the challenges those workers face.

You can register for Thursday's discussion on the Aspen Institute’s Workforce Strategies Initiative website.  The event will be held at One Dupont Cir NW Ste 700, Washington, DC 20036-1133.

“It’s a chance to highlight what we’re doing within the industry for our workers,” said Holland.  “We’re being proactive in promoting a sustainable workforce at Marek because we know our workers are our greatest asset.  We hope other industry leaders will continue to join us in efforts like our C3 initiative.”

Matt Helmer with the Aspen Institute said “Low-wage jobs are an important and enduring part of the U.S. economy, and we believe a conversation about what this growth in low-wage employment means for workers, businesses and our economy overall is needed if we are to address the economic issues we face.”

“We hope to not only highlight the struggles that workers, many of whom are day laborers, in residential construction face, but also the business case for providing good jobs in this industry and creative strategies, policies, and ideas that can support the prosperity of both workers and businesses in this sector,” Helmer said.

“The voice of high-road employers in conversations around job quality is absolutely critical,” Helmer said.  “Many employers treat their workers well not only because they have strong values and they recognize it’s the right thing to do, but because it makes good business sense.  We have heard time and time again that treating your workers well and investing in their professional development leads to a workforce that is more highly skilled and more satisfied with their job.  As a result, employers talk about outcomes such as reduced employee turnover, and increased efficiency, productivity, safety, and employee teamwork – all of which can contribute to a healthier bottom line.”


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