The construction industry stands alone in its diversity of occupations, crafts and breadth of opportunities for learning and leadership. Career development choices include crafts training, apprenticeships, advanced equipment operations, supervising, information technologies, project management, engineering and general management. Good educational systems should build awareness and prepare students of all ages for selecting among the many options for getting started.

The following article was written by Jennifer Woodruff, Marketing Director of ABC Houston, and originally published in ABC's BuildHoustonOnline

With the passage of House Bill 5 (HB5), there is a renewed emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The bill has been a much needed shot in the arm to re-energize the pursuit of Career and Technical Education (CTE) around the Gulf Coast region. However, with the increased demand on CTE programs comes higher material costs, subject matter expert/speaker needs, and basic equipment underwriting for ISD budgets that are already stretched thin. Currently, 22 area ISDs who represent 43 area high schools are partnered with Construction & Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF), using the NCCER curriculum to deliver accredited craft training. Students who attend these sponsored schools get a head start on their craft training so that they are ready to enter the industry as they graduate from high school.    Read more » about Local ISDs in Need of Industry Sponsorship, Consumables and Equipment

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) announced yesterday that more than 170 of the top construction apprentices and trainees in the country will compete in the 30th annual National Craft Championships, March 1-2 during ABC’s Workforce Week ’17 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Competitors from 29 states will contend for gold, silver and bronze medals and a safety award in 13 competitions representing 11 crafts.  The two-day competition includes a written exam and a hands-on, practical test where competitors will demonstrate their high-level craftsmanship and best safety practices.

“The National Craft Championships is a great opportunity to show off the exceptionally skilled and well-trained craftsmen and women that work on Associated Builders and Contractors member jobsites,” said 2017 ABC National Chair Chuck Goodrich, president of Gaylor Electric Inc. Indianapolis.  “ABC looks forward to showing off the very best the merit shop construction industry has to offer, including six Gaylor Electric apprentices, and drawing needed attention to the terrific career opportunities available in the construction industry.”   Read more » about More Than 170 Top Construction Pros to Compete at ABC’s 2017 National Craft Championships

It is always gratifying to witness a group of construction leaders gathering to discuss the state of our workforce and what might be done if we acted in concert.

I experienced that recently in Atlanta, Georgia at a meeting of the Construction Industry Employer Roundtable. As a guest of MAREK and MEMCO Atlanta, I joined approximately 12 construction trade associations represented by about 20 executives, along with a few contractors and specialty contractors, who were recognizing the one-year anniversary of their existence.

The formation of this group acknowledges the workforce challenge facing the construction industry, across our nation, and the need for the industry to come together to collaborate, develop a collective voice, and align strategies.    Read more » about There is Life Out There On the Workforce Frontier

Amid high unemployment in areas like the Midwest where people have in almost no way been encouraged to retrain themselves and while there are calls for increases in the minimum wage for jobs in fast food, the construction industry is offering good paying jobs but hurting for workers in a big way.

There are a variety of reasons for this, naturally. The problem is especially bad in North Texas, reports the Dallas Morning News:

Dallas-Fort Worth leads the country in construction of both houses and apartments. The lack of skilled labor is adding months to construction timelines and helping to inflate property prices in Big D and beyond.    Read more » about Residential Construction Seeks a Million Workers

On December 20, KBR and the Fort Polk Soldier for Life - Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) celebrated the accomplishments of eight active duty Army soldiers who completed a rigorous, 120-day pipefitting training program. The program was delivered in an industry-education partnership with Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) in Leesville, Louisiana. The graduates were awarded National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Pipefitting course completion certificates and credentials, and every graduating soldier will be offered top helper positions on KBR project sites.

On August 16, 2016 KBR launched the training program to train active duty soldiers under the Army’s Career Skills Program (CSP).  Soldiers who are within 180 days of separation have the opportunity to apply and be selected to participate in these competitive, Army-approved, civilian training courses in preparation for their separation from the United States Army. KBR partnered with CLTCC Lamar Salter Campus to host the training location and provide the soldiers with 28 college credit hours.   Read more » about KBR’s Fort Polk Pipefitting Program Graduates Eight Active Duty Soldiers

One of the things President-elect Donald Trump did not stress during his successful campaign for the White House is the need for those who are out of work to be trained for new careers. In fact, it is difficult to find any example of Trump discussing skills training at all. Any mention of workforce development and craft training was absent from Trump's major speeches on jobs and the economy. 

That is perhaps because his entire economic message – a message that resonated in states that made the difference for him in the Rust Belt – was centered on the idea that if you do not have a job it is because someone else took it from you. 

Trump’s political argument went something like this: If you don’t have a job, it’s because an unfair trade deal sent your gig to another country or an undocumented immigrant stole the job that you would hold here in this nation if an “illegal” wasn’t doing it instead of you.    Read more » about Trump Infrastructure Plan Should Include Skills Training

A ceremony held at the recently completed C3 project for the Greater Houston Partnership in Partnership Tower has the potential to impact the construction workforce in the Houston region for decades to come.

The ceremony honored the inaugural class of 17 graduates of Generation Houston, a collaboration of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Upskill Houston, United Way, and Generation, a 501(c)(3) social initiative sponsored by McKinsey & Company and other major sponsors.

The four week, fast track program was aimed at individuals who express an interest in the construction industry as a career and offers them training in life, safety, social and career skills. The United Way Thrive program provides the candidates and the screening of the individuals who are eligible for the training. McKinsey’s Generation provides the instruction.   Read more » about Generation Houston Inaugural Graduation

Excitement filled the air on a cool, crisp, picture perfect day when 322 students with 38 teacher/administrator chaperones from Houston-Metropolitan Area high school campuses attended the 2016 Construction Careers Exposition on Thursday, October 27, at the Pasadena Municipal Fairgrounds.  These select students represented Aldine, Alvin, Barbers Hill, Channelview, Deer Park, Galena Park, Goose Creek Consolidated, Humble, Pasadena, Pearland, and Sheldon Independent School Districts.  185 volunteers representing 33 contractors, colleges, and suppliers joined with the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston/Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF) to sponsor and facilitate the Exposition – including the donation of resources, services, and time – to make this event happen.   Read more » about Area High School Students Experience Hands-On Activities at the 2016 Construction Careers Expo

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