A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Houston Business Journal: Construction Workforce Challenge Starts With Owners

It was great to see the Houston Business Journal this week take note of the great work being done by the Construction Career Collaborative (C3) in Houston. Writing for the Houston Business Journal, Roxanna Asgarian said:

“The construction industry in Houston, and nationally, has long struggled to bring in enough new workers to maintain its skilled workforce.

"A number of Houston organizations have begun the long and difficult process to change that. Chuck Gremillion is the executive director of Construction Career Collaborative, or C3. He's tasked with making the profession safer and more attractive to new workers."

Asgarian described some of the challenges facing the industry, including the fact that the workforce is made up mainly of retiring Baby Boomers, which helps contribute to an unsustainable situation.

There are other issues as well:

"C3 has come up with standards for general contractors and subcontractors, including mandatory safety training, hourly wages instead of project-based pay, and workers' compensation insurance.

"'When companies hire 1099 employees rather than W2 workers, that means no employment taxes are deducted and matched, no benefits. We’re trying to make a career attractive to a young person, and that doesn’t attract them,' Gremillion said."

After studying the issue, a growing number of owners of projects in the Houston area have come to the conclusion that it is to their benefit to work with the construction industry to grow a sustainable workforce:

"Some institutional owners have signed on to specify new developments as 'C3 projects,' meaning the requirements must be met for any contractor bidding for the job. Texas Children's expansion in the Texas Medical Center is a C3 project, as is Memorial Hermann's upcoming Texas Medical Center expansion and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston's campus expansion. Gremillion said the collaborative is working with Hines on a potential C3 project, which would make the company the first developer to sign on."

For much more information on the Construction Career Collaborative, check out the organization’s website.