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 an Assistant Instructional Professor from Texas A&M University's Department of Construction Science who teaches materials and methods, construction graphics, as well as construction project management, I regularly discuss expectations and pathways for careers in the construction industry with prospective students. I also like to ask prospective students what they believe their job duties will be if they graduate on Saturday and begin work on Monday. This question has a variety of answers that include many misperceptions about the construction industry. Furthermore, when I ask them what they think construction management is, they’ll give it back to me and say that it’s the management of construction, but it's a lot more than that.

The Department of Construction Science prepares students for the next workforce generation of construction project delivery and is seeking to become more demographically representative of the state of Texas. The current Texas construction workforce is highly represented by Hispanics, but those in management positions are only a small percentage.    Read more » about Marek Awards Texas A&M Dept. of Construction Science Research Grant to Study High School Students' Perception of Construction

A former drywall contractor in Walla Walla, Washington has been found liable for unpaid workers’ comp premiums, interest, and late fees totaling over one million dollars.  A Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) investigation determined that Shawn A. Campbell's company, E & E Acoustics, LLC, underreported the hours that its employees worked by failing to accurately report the size of the company's drywall jobs from April 2007 through June 2009.

Campbell owes L&I more than $615,000 in premiums, $102,000 in late penalties, and $296,000 in interest, totaling over $1,013,00.00.  The judgment is believed to be one of L&I's largest-ever holding an employer personally liable for his company's workers' comp premiums, interest and penalties.   Read more » about Washington State Drywall Contractor Ordered to Pay Over $1 Million in Workers’ Comp Premiums and Penalties

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions is set to open a new location in Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania this coming June. The resort, which includes nearly 500 guest rooms, three restaurants, a water park, and a conference center, is set to become the largest water park in the country.

As part of their educational outreach program, Kalahari opened their gates to the park, which is still under construction, to 80 students from Monroe County, including the Monroe Career and Technical Institute (MCTI).

Kalahari Resorts spokesman Travis Nelson said, “This is something to be able to show these youngsters kind of what the actual application of the things they’re learning in school. The actual process is a no-brainer for us.”   Read more » about Construction Site Turns into Classroom

To support OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down To Prevent Falls in Construction, OSHA's Houston South Area Office, Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston, American Subcontractors Association-Houston Chapter, Central South Carpenters Regional Council, Gulf Coast Safety Institute/College of the Mainland, and Scaffold & Access Industry Association have aligned to offer the Houston area construction industry an afternoon of presentations and demonstrations to assist in preventing falls.

Who Should Attend Houston Fall Prevention Safety Day?
This complimentary event is perfect for owners, managers, general contractors, safety directors, sub contractors. Workers in the construction industry will find value in the Houston Fall Prevention Safety Day.    Read more » about Houston Fall Prevention Safety Day Set for May 12th

I recently visited Pasadena ISD’s Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School (CTHS) on a day when a group of high school juniors were receiving hands-on training in drywall installation by professionals from Marek Houston.  I was invited by Saied Alavi, Director of Operations at Marek, to watch as Marek volunteers Terry Holcombe, Buddy Britt, Aurelio Flores, and Rodrick Horn walked the students through each step of installing drywall to several framed “rooms” which had been previously constructed by students in the large workshop for the Construction Technologies program at the school.  I watched students measure the framing, cut the drywall to the required spaces including cutouts for windows and electrical sockets, align the cut drywall, and nail the pieces in place.  Walls and ceilings took shape before our eyes.   Read more » about Drywall Clinic at Technical High School Promotes Careers in Construction: Part 2 [VIDEO]

Creating ongoing solutions for workforce challenges in construction will be an uphill battle, but luckily some of the best minds in the industry have now begun working on it in earnest in the Houston area.

The ABC Board of Directors has instructed its Industrial Committee to figure out, with specificity, what needs to be done to create a sustainable workforce going forward. Last week, the committee continued its work focusing on improving construction’s image and recruiting – not just listing problems, but more importantly, coming up with concrete proposals for the full ABC board to discuss and take action on.    Read more » about ABC Houston Industrial Committee Begins Crafting Recommendations for Workforce Solutions

On April 8th, Construction Citizen had the privilege to attend Texas Construction Career Initiative (TCCI) and Build Your Future’s (BYF) 2015 High School Construction Career Day at the Freeman Coliseum Expo Hall in San Antonio, Texas. Over 1,100 students and chaperones from the San Antonio area and West Texas had the chance to meet with over 50 exhibitors and construction professionals. Exhibitors included craft companies specializing in plumbing, heavy equipment, glass, drywall, and roofing; institutes offering programs in construction such as Texas A&M, Texas State Technical College, and Construction Careers Academy; power tool producers DeWalt and Hilti; and non-profit construction associations such as Hispanic Contractors Association, National Association of Women in Construction, and Air Conditioning Contractors of America San Antonio.    Read more » about TCCI and BYF Host 3rd Annual Construction Career Day

When I was younger, I saw an older man sort of just standing there. Staring. Not at me. Not seemingly at anything. But he looked as if he was very deep in thought. Curious, I asked him what he was thinking about. His answer was very simple and straightforward and has stuck with me forever. Five words, and it applies to literally everything. “What I'm about to do.” I would credit him for the quote, but I don't know this guy. I didn't know him then, and I was a preteen kid. My parents were there, I wasn't afraid to talk to him, but I also didn't want to bother him. So that was our whole conversation. I just said, “Well, okay,” and left him alone. I don't know what it was he was about to do. For all I know, he could have robbed the store as soon as we left. I don't know. That answer though, that answer stayed.    Read more » about Guide to Working Safely in Dangerous Environments

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