A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

This Week's Second Look

These are posts that were published in the past on Construction Citizen and then featured for a second time at a later date in our weekly email newsletter. If you are not receiving our newsletter but would like to, please send your request to newsletter@constructioncitizen.com.

How the Construction Industry Can Help Save the American Middle Class

I love the construction industry and I speak from experience when telling you it has to be saved from itself. Since 1938, our family business has helped build the monuments of this city and this state. More importantly, our companies – like many others over the past 75 years – have helped tens of thousands of hard-working Americans enjoy an honorable blue collar, middle class standard of living. But, now our middle class is threatened like never before. Read more » about How the Construction Industry Can Help Save the American Middle Class


Tall Tales of a New Tower

The main stream media isn’t well known for covering construction stories, especially in depth, but Thomas Curwen and his colleagues at the LA Times did an outstanding report on the construction of what will be the tallest building west of the Mississippi in the Wilshire Grand Center construction. The five part series written by Curwen augmented by photos from his associates focuses the complexity and challenges during the planning and construction of a major project on a downtown constricted site that are usually not talked about openly in the press or outside of the owner, designers and construction teams. Read more » about Tall Tales of a New Tower


Can Free Community College Close the Skills Gap?

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama announced that he was going to propose a plan to Congress which would make “the first two years of community college free for everybody who is willing to work for it.”  He stated the importance of education not just for kids, but also to offer the opportunity for everybody to become better trained so that they could receive better jobs, wages, and benefits.  During his annual State of the Union Address on January 20, he explained why he believes this plan is so important.  He said, “To make sure folks keep earning higher wages down the road, we have to do more to help Americans upgrade their skills." Read more » about Can Free Community College Close the Skills Gap?


Educators Say Addressing Workforce Requires a Whole New Mindset [VIDEO]

Educators will tell you there was a time, not all that long ago, when folks in higher education had very little interest in working collaboratively to address the workforce needs of businesses in their communities. Those days are over. The needs are so great that there is now a recognition that unprecedented teamwork is necessary for the good of businesses and their potential employees. Read more » about Educators Say Addressing Workforce Requires a Whole New Mindset [VIDEO]


Drone Light Show [VIDEO]

We’ve talked about drones flying over and through construction sites, but what about 30 of them flying in unison to create a light show by “painting” on the night sky? Time Magazine quotes Ars Electronica, a technology and art firm based in Austria, about their LED-equipped drones which they call “Spaxels” and which are designed to create this visual show. Read more » about Drone Light Show [VIDEO]


Rice University Professor Advises Managers to Reject Common Hiring Myths [VIDEO]

Brent Smith, PhD gave a stimulating presentation titled Managing Talent: Myths and Realities at the 2014 fall conference hosted by Kiley Advisors.  Pat Kiley introduced the Rice University dean and professor with a mention of the companies who have hired Dr. Smith “to help them with talent development and leadership coaching” including ExxonMobil and other companies who are the “who’s who of the energy industry” as well as those from other industries such as Microsoft. Read more » about Rice University Professor Advises Managers to Reject Common Hiring Myths [VIDEO]


Bill Filed to Crack Down on Worker Misclassification in Texas Construction Industry

Far too often, construction companies cheat taxpayers and their workers by pretending their employees are independent subcontractors when, by law, they should be paid as employees. It’s a practice known as worker misclassification. Some ethical contractors have called it a “cancer that is eating at the heart of our industry.” Read more » about Bill Filed to Crack Down on Worker Misclassification in Texas Construction Industry


Misperception of the Construction Trades as a Career is a Global Issue

A recent study prepared by NRG Research for the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of British Columbia (ICBA) reveals that 59% of the respondents were unaware of how to get into the trades because of misperceptions of the construction trades.  The study also showed that less than 50% of the respondents saw the construction trades as a long-term career. Most of the respondents (British Columbians aged 18-29 years old) ranked construction jobs and skilled trades at the bottom of the list of possible jobs.  The study concluded that the industry has not done a good job of defining a road map for careers in the skilled trades in construction. Read more » about Misperception of the Construction Trades as a Career is a Global Issue


Economist Explains Why Houston’s Boom is Not a Bubble

At this year’s annual fall conference hosted by Kiley Advisors, two strategic questions were explored, presented by two distinguished guest speakers.  The question “How long can this robust market last, and why?” was tackled by Adam W. Perdue, PhD in his presentation titled Is the Boom a Bubble?  Following that presentation and discussion, Brent Smith, PhD tackled the question “How can we do a better job of attracting, retaining, and developing talent as we compete with the expanding and better-paying energy and industrial companies?” in his presentation titled Managing Talent: Myths and Realities. Read more » about Economist Explains Why Houston’s Boom is Not a Bubble


Texas Construction Executives Press the White House on Immigration Reform

Amid the chaos in Congress and the humanitarian crisis on the Texas-Mexico border, construction executives from the Lone Star State traveled to the White House this past week to urge President Barack Obama to be smart about any executive action he might take to address longstanding challenges in immigration policy.

Their message to top administration officials was that it would be preferable for Congress to pass legislation on the issue.  But in the absence of that – and seeing no evidence that the US House will act – the Republican businessmen from Texas would be okay with an executive order from the Democratic president allowing for millions of undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States as long as they can pass a background check, are identified, and taxed.  As envisioned, this would amount to an expansion of the president’s controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.  That executive action, as you may be aware, puts deportations on hold for two years for young immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.  Those waivers are renewable.

Houston construction executives Stan Marek and Gregg Reyes, along with immigration attorney Beto Cardenas, met late Friday with Obama senior advisers Cecilia Munoz and Valerie Jarrett to talk about what might happen next as the administration grapples with immigration policy.   Read more » about Texas Construction Executives Press the White House on Immigration Reform