A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

After many hours of hard work, it appears the discussions surrounding the principles of the Construction Career Collaborative (C3) have successfully shifted to the equally hard work of shaping the practices to deliver a sustainable workforce to the region. With the list of engaged owners, C3 projects and Accredited Employers continuing to grow, the collaborative is now focusing on increased time and energy on generating data and metrics that reinforce the need for craft workers who are skilled, safe and committed to the career they have chosen.
April 10, 2018
Associated General Contractors Houston is firmly committed to the efforts of creating a sustainable workforce in the commercial construction industry. We are equally committed to not only growing the capacity of the minority contracting community, but also to assisting those companies in achieving long-term success.  One thing I have found out in participating on the committees, boards and task forces associated with both of these worthwhile initiatives, is that it is important that all involved engage and acknowledge in what we know and what we don’t know.
October 16, 2017
Editor’s note: The following was originally published in Cornerstone, the quarterly magazine of AGC Houston.  Reprinted with permission.“If you want something done, ask a busy person.”  I am not sure to whom or what Benjamin Franklin was referring when he made the statement, but he very easily could have been describing the AGC Houston chapter during the first months of 2015.While the drop in oil prices has created a cause for concern, Houston continues to enjoy a very strong construction market.  Despite some markets seeing a bit of a slowdown, there continues to be plenty of work to bid and build on.  With that being said, the support so many members give the chapter through their involvement is especially gratifying.  It is difficult to single out individuals for their contributions because so many members impact directly our organization in numerous capacities.  However, I would like to recognize a few for their good work over the past few months.  
July 02, 2015
Editor’s note: The following was originally published in Cornerstone, the quarterly magazine of AGC Houston.  Reprinted with permission.This December will mark the fifth anniversary of the discussions that evolved into what is now the Construction Career Collaborative (C3).  While there was a general consensus that a future workforce problem was real, creating a viable plan with an industry as diverse as construction raised many red flags.  Needless to say, there was a good deal of skepticism all around from the very start.  Fueling the skepticism was the simple fact that in late 2009, companies had more important issues to worry about than a future workforce shortage.  Most firms were working on their own work shortage at that time.  
September 24, 2014
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.
March 27, 2014
“It’s a ‘which comes first: the chicken or the egg’ issue.”  That is how Pete Dawson, Senior Vice President of Facilities Services for Texas Children’s Hospital, expressed his thoughts as an owner working to advance the principles of the Construction Career Collaborative (C3). The dilemma for the owner, according to Mr. Dawson, is accepting the need to pay more now for a skilled workforce that will only be available in the future.  However, most agree that the young men and women who decide to forego college are not likely to choose an industry that might have a job for them, but not a career.Mr. Dawson said he certainly understands the owner’s concern about higher costs with minimal short-term results.  But he added, “I tell them to think about the cost to your project five to ten years from now due to the low productivity and missed schedules of an untrained workforce.  
March 01, 2014
In the past several weeks, I have been asked by local media to comment on the labor shortage in the commercial construction industry and how it is impacting the consumer.  Most people in our industry know the obvious answers: the consumer is experiencing higher costs for a less-skilled workforce.  Currently, the pool of qualified craft workers is extremely limited in our area.However, the opportunity side of this shortage is equally obvious.  Legislators have come to realize that college is not for everyone – particularly the high cost of higher education and the associated debts that make it harder to afford. High schools are realizing the importance of “career ready” as opposed to only “college ready”.  Owners are beginning to understand that they should be more in control of procuring the level of worker they want and need on their projects.  Contractors are beginning to realize that to build what is anticipated to be required in the next twenty years, a “sustainable workforce” is more than just words.  
May 21, 2013
On Wednesday, May 15, 2013 the AGC Annual Safety Stand Down was held on commercial construction projects throughout the Greater Houston area. It was a day dedicated to emphasizing the importance of each construction worker returning home safely every day. I was fortunate to participate in two separate events.With the impressive ExxonMobil construction project in the background, David Doucet, Mark Briggs (Area Directors for the North and South Occupational Safety and Health Administration offices, respectively) and I met that morning to sign a Safety Training Alliance agreement, an agreement that reinforces the need for a safety first work environment. Located on 385 acres, the giant jobsite will be completed in 2015 to become the company’s largest worldwide
May 16, 2013
This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to listen in on approximately 4½  hours of testimony on workforce training programs in Texas.  The hearing was held by the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce who have been charged to study whether such workforce training programs currently meet business and worker needs in Texas.  On the whole, the discussion was positive because there was a definite recognition by all presenters, as well as by the members of the committee, of the need to focus more on “career ready” as opposed to only “college ready” students.  It seems there is a wide variety of career opportunities available to high school graduates with the proper skills training.
April 12, 2012
Last week Indiana became the 23rd state to become a “right to work” state.  Congratulations to Governor Daniels and the people of Indiana.  Every business should have the right to go to market the way they so choose.  However, I could not help but sympathize a little when I read of some the opponents’ concern of a “downward spiral” as far as it related to the workforce.  After all, we only have to look at the current Texas market in regards to the quality of the commercial workforce: aging, less and less skilled, and more and more piecework.But it really does not have to be that way.  With the advent of the Construction Career Collaborative (C3), there is now not only a vehicle to
February 06, 2012