by Elizabeth McPherson on Thu, 01/05/2012 - 6:12pm
Following an event at the offices of Marek Brothers Systems at which Houston professionals were introduced to two possible scenarios for the city’s future, some of the attendees offered their first impressions and thoughts about the presentation and the discussion. In the video below, you can listen to parts of three conversations which took place as the attendees were leaving for the evening.
First you will see Donna Rybiski of the Center for Houston’s Future interviewing Bonnie McLoud and Kent Wiseman. Donna asked them
how the two different scenarios made them feel. Bonnie felt that they motivated her to “step out, get more motivated, and participate more.” Donna asked if anything struck either of them as urgent for the construction industry. Kent felt that we need to educate more young people in the construction trades. He commented that most high schools don’t teach vocational skills such as shop and woodworking like they used to do in the past. He admitted that he hadn’t really thought much about it before that evening, but even his own kids took academic courses such as math, science and English instead of the kinds of courses that could lead to careers in the skilled trades. Bonnie agreed, remembering that when she was in high school, more high school students were headed for a vocation instead of toward college compared to high school students today.
Next you will hear a conversation between Construction Citizen blogger Katrina Kersch and two other attendees: Mattison Grey and Linda Avedon. They talked about the lack of availability to high school and college students of craft training. The fact that most high schools don’t offer the training and not all colleges do severely limits the available spots for students who want to pursue such a career. Linda remembered that students from her high school used to build an entire house every year, gaining a vocational skill which they could use right out of high school. Katrina mentioned that there are beginning to be a few pockets of excellence where high school students and industry experts are being brought together to generate the next wave of skilled craftspeople.
Finally, Mike Holland, Marek Brothers Division President, interviews Albert Kasumaj from ExxonMobil. When asked if he noticed any common themes in the discussions that evening, Albert remarked:
“We have some issues across all the industries that probably cross the borders of every industry, and that’s education. We need to start with education and we need to start with getting the word out there. We need to start spreading this idea with others as well and getting more input. The more input we can have, the better ideas we’re going to have to build our city in better ways.”
You can hear each of these interviews in the following video, and look for more of these “exit interviews” in a separate post next week.