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?

The deadly tornadoes that recently ravaged Dallas/Fort Worth not only took the lives of Texans and caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage, they also provided evidence that cutting corners in commercial construction can easily mean the difference between buildings that hold up in severe weather versus those that collapse “like a house of cards" putting the lives of those inside them at great risk.

The Dallas Morning News talked with an engineer who said some of the construction at a local school district in Dallas County was “horrific” from the standpoint of design and building execution:   Read more » about Report: North Texas Storms Expose Shoddy Construction

It wasn’t an easy choice to pursue a career in industrial construction. For some reason or another I just didn’t think I was cut out to be in the industry. Something about my fear of heights kept me away from the scene. Eventually, after being so unhappy for so long in retail, my fiancé told me one day, “Why don’t you go into the construction industry? You are capable of so much more.” Those words stuck in my head and marinated for about two years until I finally decided to do something about it. So, which construction craft was I going to go for? I knew what I didn’t want to do and that was to continue in retail.    Read more » about How I Chose My Career in the Construction Industry

In November the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston (ABC) and the Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF) hosted 400 high-school students currently enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes at their high schools to an event designed to acquaint the students with many different skilled trades that exist and to inspire those students to continue to pursue careers as skilled craft professionals.  The annual Construction Careers Expo gave the students a chance to hear from 43 contractors and owners who volunteered their time and equipment that day, and to get a taste of various professions through hands-on activities – often offered through friendly competitive challenges.

Groups of students rotated in 25-minute sessions through activities and demonstrations in Campbell Hall, the FFA Pavilion, and the Arena on the Pasadena Municipal Fairgrounds.   Read more » about Students Connect with Craft Professionals at Construction Careers Expo: Part 1 of 2 [VIDEO]

First Lady Michelle Obama appears in a new public service announcement aimed at promoting higher education to the youth of America. In the video, Mrs. Obama and Saturday Night Live's Jay Pharoah sing:

"If you wanna fly jets, you should go to college. Reach high and cash checks, fill your head with knowledge.

If you wanna watch paint don't go to college.

But, for everything else you should go to college."

   Read more » about More and More States Offer Multiple Career Paths

“Congratulations, you have been selected to be a part of the team! Your starting date will be….”

There are no sweeter words than these that I’ve heard in the eight months I scratched and clawed, typed, copied and pasted my instrument and electrical technician resume and work applications day after day. Of course, with some breaks in between as I focused on school, I prepped myself to get back into the workforce. After getting settled in, signing paperwork, and completing training modules, it is finally time to get moving!

One word came to mind as I put on my hard hat and safety goggles after completing my training modules: Planning. If you fail to plan, plan to fail.

As I start my day, I go into my emails and check to see what is lined up for the day. Whether it be PMs (preventative maintenance), specific projects, such as replacing a valve, or completing company training modules, the day starts off by planning.     Read more » about A Day in the Life of an Instrument and Electrical Technician

Editor’s note: This is the first article in a series which will span three generations of craft workers who have enhanced career opportunities for themselves and others through participation in the workforce development program at Jacobs.

Brandon Moore, Pipe Welder at Jacobs, currently works on the ExxonMobil Refinery project in Baytown, Texas.  Last March, Moore became the 2015 ABC National Craft Champion Gold Medal Winner in Structural Welding by completing a two-hour written exam then competing in daylong hands-on practical performance tests.  He received his welding training from the Jacobs Developmental Program and Lee College under the Construction and Maintenance Educational Foundation (CMEF), a training affiliate of ABC Greater Houston.  After winning the national title, he told Construction Citizen’s Jeff Stautner about how his training helped him prepare for the competition:

“[ABC/CMEF] taught me the right way straight from the start.  When it came time for the competition, they made absolutely sure I had everything I could possibly need to be prepared.  They contacted Jacobs and arranged that I have time to practice at work, learn from more welders and perfect my technique.   Read more » about Spotlight on Welding: Never Stop Learning

One of the perhaps ironic challenges discovered by Construction Citizen during the publication’s recent visit to Lee College is that because jobs in the petrochemical industry can be so lucrative, we have some trouble at times recruiting enough instructors to meet demands.

Ideal candidates for instructors are people with industry experience, but our college and others often can’t pay enough to lure them from the well-paying jobs they currently hold. My colleague Layton Childress, Dean of Applied Sciences, said "I've never seen such demand where the jobs are there and the salaries are so high.” He added that many students “don't even realize what an opportunity they have here to go to school for two years and then be set for life.”    Read more » about Leave a Legacy: Become a Teacher of the Skilled Trades

After a yearlong debate about the right way to handle it, the Dallas City Council this week passed a requirement for mandatory rest breaks for construction workers.

Under the new rules, which passed on a vote of 10 to 5, construction workers will be guaranteed 10 minutes of rest for every four hours worked. Construction workers and their advocates broke into applause in the city council chambers Wednesday morning after the vote. There was very little discussion of of the measure by council members in the moments before the vote.    Read more » about Dallas Adopts Mandatory Rest Breaks for Construction Workers

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