A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Shaping the future of the construction industry

youth enjoys working on construction project, has toolbelt and drillWelcome!  Our goal is to open a dialog that will address several crises and thorny issues surrounding the construction industry in the US and world today.  Other than the central fact that the economies around the globe are in "reset" mode, three thorny issues facing building contractors, developers and owners are:

1) looming workforce shortages, especially in the middle skills level;

2) the image of the construction industry as a viable option for employment and career growth;

3) the current workforce, especially at the lower end of the scale, lacking the basic skills to meet the needs of the construction industry now and in the future.

There are important variations on these themes.  One is the "unlevel playing field" created when some subcontractors use labor brokers who supply them with day laborers who are unqualified for the task at hand.  Another is the use of “illegals” or undocumenteds on work crews in spite of the threat of ICE raids on jobsites and the availability of the E Verify program to check worker status ahead of time.

A vitally important condition affecting the sustainability and growth of the construction business is the disparity between socially responsible,  value adding subcontractors and the less responsible operators.  The former pay their crews as employees, providing them and their families with benefits and healthcare, while the latter only use contract labor or 1099s on their crews.  Despite the safety and quality control issues and greater long-term costs created by less responsible operators, many respectable and responsible firms lose deals to less-responsible operators when owners, developers and general contractors are driven by short-term cost comparisons and do not “care” who works on the jobsite as long as the work gets done on time and under budget.

We will examine each of these areas by illustrating specific facts and examples, providing quotes from the industry and asking provocative questions about these subjects.  Most importantly though, this is a venue for contractors, subs, vendors, suppliers, job seekers, whistle blowers, developers, architects or engineers to participate and engage in conversations that will help redefine and shape the future of the construction industry.

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