Construction is a large and complex worldwide industry constantly shaped by new information technologies, advanced materials, environmental policies, regulations and changing building methods. Most importantly, though, construction is shaped by people. Sustaining a strong industry requires attracting and valuing a skilled, career-driven, high quality workforce... who also like to build! How is the construction industry attracting the skilled workforce for future growth market demands? Do prospective candidates see construction as a viable career choice?

E'hem.  Excuse me for just a moment, but I have to toot the horn of my good friends at Chamberlin.  These folks sure are making me proud!

In just the last few months, the Chamberlin team has been showered with kudos and awards from the likes of ABC, AGC, ASA, IREM and NRCA.  We have been honored for National Excellence in Construction, National Safety Excellence and Construction Safety Excellence.  Members of the Chamberlin team have been recognized for zero lost work days and named MVP by the Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress.  We've been honored for supporting the community at large and for being a player in our industry circle.   Read more » about Bursting with Pride

Originally posted on Marekbros.com.

The Build Your Future (BYF) initiative along with various industry partners are excited to announce that they have teamed up in San Antonio to host a Construction Career Day event on April 9, 2014 at Freeman Coliseum's Expo Hall from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

We are anticipating over 600 students from 20 different schools from San Antonio and the surrounding areas, up from last year’s student attendance of around 350. These students will have an opportunity to watch equipment and welding demonstrations, speak with local employers in the construction industry, and visit booths representing various professions in construction.

The goal of this event is to encourage awareness to the different construction trades and lead students into long-term rewarding careers in construction.   Read more » about San Antonio High School Construction Career Expo - April 9, 2014

We have been writing about the critical need for controlling security on your jobsite to prevent possible injuries, to track materials, to avoid tool theft, and in the case of the new One World Trade Center building, to protect the construction sites from falling prey to possible terrorism.  This issue is front page again.

CBS New York reported that the newly appointed head of security at the One WTC construction site, former FBI field agent David Velazquez, is taking the fall for recent the security breaches even though the first reported one took place before he had taken over his position.
 
The Velazquez resignation came on the heels of the disclosure that on September 30 of last year, four thrill-seeking BASE jumpers entered the site through a hole in the security fence, climbed the 104 stories to the top of the building, and then jumped in a stunt that would make GoPro proud.

This major breach was not disclosed until six months after it happened and only after a second breach by teenager Justin Casquejo, age 16, of Weehawken, NJ just a week ago.   Read more » about One World Trade Center Security Breached Again

Safety is critical on every construction site.  It matters every minute of every day and not just during the safety talk, incident review, OSHA audit or client incident report.

According to ENR, 31 major contractors are launching the first annual “Safety Week” May 4-10 to bring additional attention to the issue on a nationwide basis.  These contractors are asking other firms to join in to raise the safety consciousness of every worker on every construction site.

From the ENR article, the organizers “belong to either the Construction Industry Safety Initiative or the Injury Free Executive Forum.  The companies in the groups can be fierce competitors, but they also meet regularly and exchange ideas about safety.   Read more » about Safety Matters Every Minute of Every Day!

Some lawmakers raised questions this week about whether school districts around Texas have the kind of resources they'll need to fully implement sweeping education reforms signed into law last year.  Starting this fall, students will have several new options for which path they'd like to take to earn a high school diploma.  But whether those kids and their parents will receive adequate guidance up front about their choices has become a point of contention.

The flexibility in graduation plans was part of a broader education reform package that got a “yes” vote from all of the 181 members of the Texas Legislature.   Read more » about More Resources May Be Needed For Texas Education Reforms to Work

The following was originally published in Cornerstone, the quarterly magazine of AGC Houston.  Reprinted with permission.

In a year when most professional sports fans in Houston have not had much to cheer about, there was a brief shining moment for Astros fans earlier this year.  No, I am not referring to the fact that they own the number one pick in the draft for the second year in a row.

In January Craig Biggio, a Houston Astro from rookie to retirement, was expected to be voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  It was his second year in the voting, and his statistics shouted, “Hall of Famer”.  Only it did not happen.  He missed by two votes.  Unfortunately for Biggio, his baseball career spanned what has become known as the steroid era.

Biggio has never been accused of nor has it ever even been suggested that he used steroids.  But, the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) by a litany of major league stars has tainted everyone and everything associated with Major League Baseball from the late 1980’s to 2010.  Many good players became tangled in the mess created by a significant few.

This got me thinking that maybe our industry has its own PED problem.  I’m not talking about contractors on steroids or any other illegal substance.  I am referring to a different PED – let’s call it proposal enhancing decisions.   Read more » about Construction’s “PED” Problem

I created the Mobilization 2 Completion initiative as a means to address the growing need for a sustainable skilled construction workforce.  Research has shown that the construction industry will face workforce shortages which will increase cost of delivery and time to completion.  In addition, the negative image of the construction industry needs to be studied and strategies formulated to increase the number of students enrolled in construction education.

Currently the Mobilization 2 Completion initiative has been working on three areas of research made possible through a grant awarded by Marek Brothers Systems.  The grant is dedicated to increasing recruitment and retention of potential workforce through construction education and awareness.  The three areas of research are focused on

  1. High School Juniors’ perceptions of a construction career
  2. Factors of recruitment and retention of Skilled Trades construction education students

  Read more » about Mobilization 2 Completion

First 15 students complete four-year apprenticeship program in sheet metal

On January 16, fourteen men and one woman were celebrated by their friends, families, instructors, and employers for becoming the first graduates of a four-year apprenticeship program offered by the Houston Area Mechanical Contractor Training Academy (HAMCTA).  HAMCTA, also known as “the Academy”, came to exist through the vision, collaboration, and sacrifice of several mechanical contractors who found a creative way to develop the skilled workforce which is needed in their industry.

The idea for the Academy began a few years ago when several mechanical contractors in the Houston area were each experiencing the same frustration with finding skilled workers to hire.  They wanted to establish a program which would provide training with certification and also allow the contractors who had provided the training to retain those workers after they became qualified.   Read more » about Contractors Create Training Academy to Build Vital Skilled Workforce

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