A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Now that the Texas Legislature is taking a hard look at the way education reforms are being implemented across the state, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on my recent experience traveling to Austin to talk with the State Board of Education about this important issue. As you might have heard, lawmakers passed a reform bill last year that created more flexibility for students who are trying to get a high school diploma in Texas. Those of us in the trades, like construction, have been very supportive of this for two main reasons: we want to see as many young people succeed as possible, and we feel there’s a career for many of them in our industries.
Katrina Kersch's picture
April 15, 2014
Originally posted by Katrina Kersch on MarekBros.com.As our workforce program has grown in depth, scope and experience, I would like to pause and reflect on what workforce development looks like versus conducting training programs. As our team takes on career paths development opportunities for our professional employees, the WFD team (Workforce Development) will be looking to incorporate standards that exist beyond the training experience and into developing a winning team for our organization.In writing this blog, I intended to outline this difference between training and workforce development, but then I found an excellent article titled Workforce Development is More Than Just Training by Dick Grimes which says it perfectly. Please read the entire article.  Some but not all of my favorite points include the following.Workforce development in its best sense includes:Before sending employees to a class, we require leaders to tell us first how they will work with the employee to reinforce the application of it AFTER the training event because we know that training without reinforcement is a waste of resources. 
Katrina Kersch's picture
February 27, 2014
By all reports, the 3rd Annual Construction Career Collaborative (C3) Golf Tournament was a great success.  Our golfers enjoyed a beautiful day at Northgate Country Club in Houston, Texas.  And of course, we owe a great debt to our sponsors for making the day possible.  Visit the new C3 website for a list of sponsors, winning teams, and great pictures.The golf tournament provided the perfect opportunity to give our supporters an update on progress made this year by our volunteer board and committees.  Our workforce initiative has grown from its inception as a great idea into a non-profit organization.  Those of you who have followed our progress know that at the core we are an alliance of owners, general contractors, and specialty contractors who promote and endorse the following principles:  
Katrina Kersch's picture
November 12, 2013
Exciting times are ahead for our collaboration!  With the addition of the St. Mary's Seminary Project, the Construction Career Collaborative (C3) now has six designated projects.  In my capacity as C3's Executive Director, I sat down with Steve Dishman, President of Brookstone, to talk about the renovation on the Borski Center, which is owned by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.KK: Tell us a little about this project.SD: The project scope includes substantial renovations and upgrades to the Borski Athletic Center.KK: What made your organization decide to designate this project as a C3 Project?  
Katrina Kersch's picture
September 18, 2013
The next six months are going to be very busy for the Construction Career Collaborative as we bring another project on board, ramp up our ability to track how projects are going and roll out our safety training locations.In the coming weeks, we’ll be ready to unveil the latest project that’s signed on to carry the banner of our C3 principles: Hourly and overtime payment standards, safety training and craft training. Perhaps the most significant thing about the newest project is that for the first time we’ll be expanding beyond the medical community. Texas Children’s Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center continue to be wonderful partners on the five beta projects already underway. The leaders of those hospitals are as excited as we are to the addition of more partners in our mission.
Katrina Kersch's picture
July 08, 2013
The Construction Career Collaborative (C3) announced last week that they are taking applications for the next C3 Train the Trainer session.  The Train the Trainer course is where C3 Trainers are credentialed to deliver the new C3 5-Hour Safety Awareness Course that is included in the General Conditions and Specifications for C3 projects.  The C3 5-Hour course is intended to complement the OSHA 10-Hour course and addresses hazards specific to a commercial construction site.  The course also includes information on the Construction Career Collaborative and its efforts to improve the health and well-being of the craft worker.To date, over 40 trainers have received their credentials with 36 Houston companies participating.  C3 Trainers are required to have successfully completed the OHSA #500, have experience in health and safety, and hold a proven record of training.
Katrina Kersch's picture
May 28, 2013
The Construction Career Collaborative (C3) recently held a Sponsors’ Meeting to provide an opportunity to update supporters on progress made toward advancing the principles of C3.Jim Stevenson, Chairman of C3, provided some highlights of accomplishments to date.  These include:Enlistment of two Beta Project Owners – Texas Children’s Hospital and MD Anderson – involvingFour ContractorsNumerous Specialty ContractorsHundreds of Craft WorkersDevelopment of a toolkit for participantsAn application for accreditation (under development)Development of an online C3-5 Safety TrainingQualification of 46 Safety Trainers at 23 companiesDevelopment of a job description and funding model through a loaned staff memberPreparation of By-Laws and Policies in order to file as a 501(c)(3) organizationContinued spreading the word to add other project OwnersIn addition, the C3 Marketing Committee members, John Stautner and Michele Buckingham, facilitated a discussion with sponsors on ways in which C3 supporters might engage and participate in advancing C3 principles to their members and to the community. 
Katrina Kersch's picture
April 24, 2013
This month the Construction Career Collaborative (C3) elected a Board of Directors and Executive Committee.  This is an important milestone for the organization, and we are extremely grateful to our owner representatives for agreeing to serve not only on the board, but also in key officer positions.  These individuals are charged with moving the initiative forward by providing wise stewardship and advocacy for C3 principles.The organization will fill remaining open board positions through 2013.C3 would like to extend our thanks to these individuals and wish them great success in their efforts.2013 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Katrina Kersch's picture
March 28, 2013
As acting director of the Construction Career Collaborative (C3), I recently talked with Brian Golden of J.T. Vaughn Construction, LLC about one of the first construction projects to be built under C3 principles.  Golden is a project manager for the Zayed Building for Personalized Cancer Care, which upon completion will become the newest cancer research facility in The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  He shared the following conversation with me. –KKKK:  Please tell me a little about the Zayed Building which you are working on – the size of the project and some of the details about the construction.BG:  The MD Anderson Zayed Building for Personalized Cancer Care will consist of a 13-story new building in the Texas Medical Center.  The 620,000 square foot structure is split into four towers from level 3 through 13, with levels 1 and 2 making up the “podium” base below the towers.  The building façade consists mainly of a unitized curtain wall system.  Level 1 is clad with cut granite on CMU.  There are also provisions for a canopy at the main entry and sky bridges to a future garage and existing buildings.How will this building be used?This new cancer research facility will be the home to two programs:  
Katrina Kersch's picture
January 31, 2013
In 2009, House Bill (HB) 4328, authored by Texas State Representative Mark Strama and sponsored by Texas State Senator Carlos Uresti, created the Interagency Literacy Council for “the study, promotion and enhancement of literacy in the state.”  The Texas Interagency Literacy Council (Council) was instructed to provide a written report to the Texas Legislature, the Office of the Governor, and the Texas Workforce Investment Council (TWIC) on November 1 of each even-numbered year beginning in 2012, until the Council expires in 2019.  The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has now published the Council’s 2012 report.Illiteracy in the state of Texas is a growing problem.  TWIC reports in a 2010 study that over four million Texans are eligible for adult education services.  This number is projected to double by 2040.  On average, 19% of adult Texans cannot read a newspaper.Aware that the adult education system in Texas is fragmented among state agencies, employers, and nonprofit and volunteer organizations, the council was charged with identifying barriers
Katrina Kersch's picture
November 20, 2012