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C3 Initiative Moves Forward With Online Database for Worker Training

Key players in the Construction Career Collaborative (C3) met this past week to talk about the next steps for the group, as word about C3 spreads around the state and the nation.  Among the biggest developments during the conference was the unveiling of the online database that will contain the safety and craft training information for workers.  It’s a system that will ultimately be used to ensure that a perfectly tailored workforce is on each and every C3 jobsite.

Under the system, workers will be assigned a C3 identification number that will allow for an instant search of each employee’s level of craft and safety training.  “What follows the employee is that information, not who their employer is,” said C3 Executive Director Katrina Kersch.  She said the employee’s compensation level would also not be available through that system.  It is solely focused on the workers’ qualifications.

Some have expressed concerns that the database could put personal information at risk.  That’s because when the workers are entered into the system, their Social Security number is used as part of the identification process.  But, C3 Chairman Jim Stevenson said those concerns have been put to rest.  He said that information would never be made public, and the system would only be used to determine whether a worker has the training necessary to provide quality work on the project they've been assigned to.  “That’s why we’re giving them a C3 ID number,” he said.

Stevenson also said they’ll soon start issuing badges to employees working on C3 beta projects.  At some point in the future, projects would have gates where workers entering with a badge would instantly be identified as being either qualified or not to be on the project.  “Badging today – tolling in the future,” Stevenson said, referring to the way cars are now identified on toll roads in Texas with either an EZ Tag or a TX Tag.  For now, those worker badges would be used as part of spot-checks.

C3, it was noted, is preparing to announce the addition of another beta project, and Construction Citizen has learned that it will not be a hospital building. The announcement of that project is expected in the coming weeks.  All the other buildings underway that have adopted C3 have been in the medical community, so the group is excited to have a different kind of project prepared to come on board.

Chairman Stevenson said this headway is being made because owners are starting to see real benefits as a direct result of their adoption of the C3 principles. “That was the point of the beta projects: to start collecting this information and prove to people that we really could make this work,” Stevenson said. “Employers can now advance safety training and don’t have to provide the same training over and over again.  That’s one of the most significant impacts of C3 to date.”

Stevenson said the original reason he got involved with the initiative was he had said to himself: “We will not have a worker shortage in my lifetime.”  That’s why he and others started working on this when the market was down and there was time to focus on it “instead of now when everyone is too busy to even think about this.”  He said that preparation was critical so that now “we can make meaningful progress because we've already set the framework for how to attract, train, and retain employees we'll need for the future.”

“We are definitely finding bumps in the road,” said Danny Thompson of Vaughn Construction, who also serves on C3’s Beta Projects Committee.  But, he added that’s a good thing because the organization can work to iron out those difficulties now before further expanding the initiative.

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