Construction is a large and complex worldwide industry constantly shaped by new information technologies, advanced materials, environmental policies, regulations and changing building methods. Most importantly, though, construction is shaped by people. Sustaining a strong industry requires attracting and valuing a skilled, career-driven, high quality workforce... who also like to build! How is the construction industry attracting the skilled workforce for future growth market demands? Do prospective candidates see construction as a viable career choice?

As part of our mission to promote a sustainable workforce, Construction Citizen is proud to highlight incredible community service organizations all over Southeast Texas. Neighborhood Centers, which has 70 locations in the Houston area, is putting people to work every day across the region. Their approach is unique, comprehensive, and yields real results.

The great folks at Neighborhood Centers were kind enough to give our team an inside look at one of their five community centers, Baker Ripley, in the Gulfton/Sharpstown area of Southwest Houston. The neighborhood is considered the “Ellis Island of Houston” because of its rich diversity thanks to an influx of immigrants from all over the world. More than 70 nations are represented by the population, which collectively speaks about 40 languages.    Read more » about Neighborhood Centers: Putting Houstonians to Work and So Much More

The U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) and the Vermont Department of Labor signed an agreement this summer to protect employees and law-abiding businesses by reducing the practice of worker misclassification in Vermont.  The three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) allows the two agencies to share information and work together to conduct investigations and enforce the laws against employers identifying their employees as independent contractors or designating them with other non-employee statuses.

Agencies from several other states have signed similar agreements with the U.S. DOL including agencies from Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.   Read more » about Vermont Joins the U.S. Department of Labor to Battle Worker Misclassification

The following article was originally published in Breaking Ground, The NCCER Blog by Jennifer Wilkerson, a Construction Citizen blogger and NCCER’s Director of Marketing, PR, and Build Your Future.  Reprinted with permission.

So why hasn’t the construction industry been able to change the public’s perception of careers in the industry? Why aren’t more young people choosing careers in construction? First, we need to stop having city, state and regional meetings to figure out what we should do. We need to stop patting ourselves on the back because we participated on a committee that produced a report or white paper detailing what should be done to combat the skilled workforce shortage in our industry.

It amazes me when I see outputs from committees all over the U.S. pontificating about the skills gap and discussing ways to connect education and industry, provide local and state support and unite communities, parents and businesses on the topic. They all say the same thing, and what amazes me even more is that these are not new ideas.   Read more » about Why Not Construction? I Know Why, But You Might Not Like It!

With the support of a wide variety of companies and organizations from the construction industry, Construction Career Collaborative hosted 36 teams at its 5th annual golf tournament on a beautiful day at Sweetwater Country Club on Monday, September 21st. Players were treated to a box lunch prior to the noon shotgun start followed by a feast at the conclusion of the tournament that included chicken-fried chicken, blackened catfish, a variety of salads and vegetables, along with bread pudding for dessert. Each participant also received a black windshirt emblazoned with the red & white C3 logo on the chest with the logos of the three underwriting sponsors, Marek Family of Companies, McCarthy Building Companies and TD Industries, on the sleeves.

Other supporters of the tournament included reception/dinner sponsors Camarata Masonry Systems and Slack & Company, along with beverage station sponsors J.M. Maly (who provided a variety of premium cigars for participants) and American Subcontractors Association Houston Chapter (who gave away a premium ice chest) and the Texas Construction Association.    Read more » about C3 Hosts its 5th Annual Golf Tournament

Marek Dallas Division President John Hinson wrote the following President’s Message for AWCI's Construction Dimension magazine. Hinson is the 2015-2016 President of AWCI.

I am honored to serve our industry for the next 12 months as president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry. I have worked in the wall and ceiling industry for 31 years and owe my success to my teammates who helped me perform to the best of my abilities. I am talking specifically about the craftsmen in the field who are making it happen every day. Without them I would not be in the role I am in today. In fact, not many of us would be in our current roles, right? We would not be successful, and we would not be in this business. We owe them our gratitude.   Read more » about Create a Safety Culture

Community colleges along the Texas Gulf Coast are working overtime to meet the needs of employers and help a student population hungry for success.  Among other things I’ve learned lately, it was especially amazing to hear Lee College President Dennis Brown say many of the students enrolled in two-year programs already have four-year degrees and are returning to enhance their skills.  There is also the college’s “fast track” program – a way for the unemployed to gain critical skills in mere weeks.

I wanted to know more about their programs, so after our conversation with Brown and the rest of the Lee College leadership team, Construction Citizen took a tour of classrooms where students gain vital hands-on experience.

Pipefitting Instructor Mark Hartley told Construction Citizen he begins with the assumption that a person coming into his program knows nothing about the trade, despite the fact many of them do have at least some experience working in construction.  Hartley has to start with that assumption, he said, because students enrolled in his classes bring a diversity of backgrounds to the table.   Read more » about Conversations with Craft Professional Instructors at Lee College [VIDEO]

The National Football League faces a growing backlash over the way cheerleaders are compensated and the reason for it will sound very familiar to regular readers of Construction Citizen. Over the years, we’ve highlighted the practice of worker misclassification in our industry. Now other sectors of the economy are dealing with the issue in a variety of ways. Our industry insider Jim Kollaer noted just this week that the popular ride-sharing company Uber is under the legal microscope for whether its drivers should be classified as employees or independent contractors.

In the case of NFL cheerleaders, at least five lawsuits have been filed including one against the Oakland Raiders. The Oakland Raiderettes settled that lawsuit with the team’s owners for a reported $1.5 million.   Read more » about NFL Faces Lawsuits and Legislative Crackdowns Over the Way Cheerleaders are Paid

The construction industry has fought the issue of independent contractors with no benefits or employees with full benefits for the last decade. Now the startup Uber is in the middle of two suits, and the ultimate outcomes on those decisions will impact their viability in the future.

And it is not just Uber. The decisions on these cases in California could have an impact on the viability and growth of “on demand” startups and the personal service businesses like Uber. The startups and their business models are a perceived threat to the “old way of life” where you got a job and benefits and you stayed with that company or industry model until you retired.   Read more » about Independent Contractor or Employee? Uber Under Fire