Peter Beard, Senior Vice President for Regional Workforce Development at the Greater Houston Partnership and keynote speaker of the event, made the case for developing a construction talent pipeline and shed light on many of the workforce pain points the industry continues to encounter. Peter sees demand for commercial construction increasing as more hospitals, schools, libraries, and other public buildings are needed to support Houston’s growing population. He spoke about the necessity of collaborative efforts among employers, educators, community-based organizations, as well as industry and training organizations to address the workforce shortage. Peter emphasized that input from employers will continue to be essential in these efforts as they are best positioned to help organizations shape curriculums and standards that produce hireable individuals with the skills necessary to be immediately productive.
Throughout the conference, engaging dialogue took place between the audience, presenters, and panel members. Success stories were shared from companies that have implemented robust training and development programs, such as MAREK
and McCarthy Building Companies
. In addition to overarching themes of skills training, personnel development, and collaborative problem solving, several of the speakers stressed the importance of healthy company culture, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
Kavon McAdams, Inclusion Program Manager at Gilbane Building Company, shared characteristics of Millenials and Gen Z, who will make up over 75% of the workforce by 2025, and spoke on best practices for establishing an inclusive, diverse work environment. Leadership Coach Mattison Grey shared statistics that brought into focus the huge impact feelings of connection and belonging can have on employee retention. She cited an inaugural EY Empathy in Business Survey (July 2021) in which 48 percent of respondents had left a job because they felt like they didn’t belong. Having trouble connecting with colleagues and not feeling valued by a previous boss were other significant reasons employees decided to leave their companies.
With many like-minded, forward-looking leaders and professionals in the same space, the 2022 C3 & AGC Houston Workforce Development Conference was a valuable day of conversations, learning, and networking.