Outside of the Owner, there is no more crucial entity to craft workforce development in the construction industry than the General Contractor. One could make the argument that the GC is THE biggest influencer in the construction process period; hence, the importance of its role to the mission of Construction Career Collaborative, (C3), and the development of a safe, skilled, sustainable craft workforce.
For starters, the General Contractor is often times the confidant of the Owner. In that role, it can educate the Owner on the shortage of skilled craftworkers and its impact on the ability to deliver a high-quality project on time and within budget. This provides the GC the opportunity to educate the Owner about organizations such as C3 and its consulting work with construction employers to assist them in the advancement of competitive workforce development practices. The GC is also able to educate the Owner on the importance of a weighted selection process for Specialty Contractors that not only includes bid price but also skills training and workforce development practices as well as other factors such as previous project experience.
Specialty Contractors know that the importance of the GC’s influence also extends to the job site where they act as the figurative conductor of a construction orchestra. The chances that the construction orchestra will play beautiful music are greater if the GC conductor is on its game, meaning that if the trades are well coordinated, the project will proceed smoothly, and each construction company will have a better chance of financial success on the project.
The GC’s influence and leadership also apply to C3 Projects where it is their responsibility to verify that each craft worker employed on the project has an OSHA 10 credential and supervisors have an OSHA 30 credential before they begin work. It is also at the C3 Project job site that the GC delivers monthly C3 Safety Refresher Training. These two characteristics of a C3 Project place more responsibility on the GC, but they also make for a better and safer project.
C3 has learned from many Specialty Contractors that they prefer to work on C3 Projects because they believe that the quality of the companies and the craft workers that they employ is higher. In other words, the standards that C3 requires of its Accredited Employers and Project Participants raise the bar for all companies engaged in the project, which leads to a higher level of performance. In fact, in the quote at the top of this edition of the C3 News Brief, Charlie Newton of Austin Commercial attests to this belief. This, in turn, influences the project’s Owner, College of the Mainland, and its Specialty Contractors. Not coincidentally, College of the Mainland recently elected to make Phase II of its construction program another C3 Project.
In closing, many, many of Houston’s best General Contractors believe in and are advocates for C3. Their influence and leadership is largely responsible for the fact that there have been 49 C3 Projects to date, and there are more in the pipeline.
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