A construction company in Washington state faces stiff fines for "numerous repeated safety violations" that reportedly "exposed workers to potential falls and other hazards at a residential construction site." The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries slapped J&I Construction with fines resulting from multiple violations. Now the company owes more than $200,000.

More from the Insurance Journal:

The three violations, each with a penalty of $42,000, were for not providing proper fall protection to three employees who were working on the top edge of a wall nearly 20 feet off the ground, and the company has been cited two other times for the same issue, according to L&I.

J & I was also cited for three repeat violations for not having a plan outlining the fall hazards on the specific job, exposing workers to unguarded wall openings that they could fall through and for not ensuring that workers didn’t stand or step on the top of a self-supporting ladder. Each violation carries a penalty of $21,000.

The company was cited for two additional repeat violations for not having railings on open-sided stairs to protect employees from falls ($5,600), and for not ensuring that employees wore hard hats where there was a danger of flying or falling objects ($4,200).    Read more » about Construction Firm Hit with Major Fine for Safety Violations

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

A huge part of my job as the executive director of the Construction Career Collaborative is to spread the word about exactly what we are doing and what kind of progress we are making. 

That’s accomplished in a variety of ways including stories on Construction Citizen and speaking to groups of contractors, owners, and others. We also spread the word by doing news interviews with media outlets like the Texas Tribune and writing op-eds that appear in the Houston Chronicle

Over the last several months, we’ve added a new way for you to stay up to date with all the latest developments surrounding our movement: The C3 News Brief. 

The C3 News Brief is published once every two weeks and is delivered straight to your email inbox. In it, you'll find all the latest news about C3, information on upcoming events, recognition of C3 accredited employers, links to our training database, and updated facts about the Construction Career Collaborative.   Read more » about Stay Up to Date With the C3 News Brief

Two markedly different approaches to addressing workforce challenges are now featured in
Texas Tribune
, a statewide nonprofit news organization. Reporter Neena Satija took an in-depth look at both the Construction Career Collaborative, or C3, in Houston as well as the Workers Defense Project in Austin.

Workers Defense has earned significant mainstream media coverage in Austin and nationally – in fact, the New York Times called it “a union in spirit” – likely because it is often controversial and is seen by many as adversarial with business. C3 has been covered extensively by Construction Citizen but has seen less coverage in venues like the Houston Chronicle, for example.  

The story in the Tribune says Workers Defense seems to have “more teeth” than C3 and notes the advocacy group has often partnered with government to help achieve its goals.   Read more » about Texas Tribune Highlights Emerging Workforce Initiatives in Houston and Austin

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

We recently attended a celebration and thank you party in the offices of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) in Partnership Tower.

The GHP honored and thanked those craft workers responsible for the build out of their offices designed by Kirksey Architects, built by Harvey Builders and a host of specialty subcontractors like Marek, Trio Electric, and Clunn.

The space, designed to be the “front door” for business visitors to Houston, is home to the largest business organization in the fourth largest city in the US. It will be a heavily utilized space and is designed to accommodate a variety of events from meetings of its large Board of Directors, to hosting foreign dignitaries, hosting events such as the elected officials appreciation party, and hosting corporate leaders from around the world.    Read more » about Who Built It? Celebration at Partnership Tower

The “private sector solution” to workforce challenges in the Houston area is growing by leaps and bounds, but there is an incredible amount of work yet to do. The Construction Career Collaborative, or C3, continues to pick up steam and more industry leaders are being asked to join what has been described as “a movement.”

During a breakfast hosted this month by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston, C3 Executive Director Chuck Gremillion told executives the best way to create an industry that’s attractive to young American workers is through better craft training, safety training, and a focus on the financial security, health and well-being of craft workers.

“We’re really a pretty simple organization,” Gremillion said. “We want to attract young people to a career.”

While the vast majority of construction companies understand the need for safety training, which is a great thing, Gremillion said it is regrettable there aren’t more firms with a focus on craft training.   Read more » about More Construction Leaders Are Needed to “Walk the Talk” on Workforce Solutions

Last month the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) unveiled their stunning new space in Partnership Tower which will serve as a meeting place for heads of state, senior business leaders from around the world, and others who visit to learn more about the greater Houston area.  The construction of the space was achieved using the principles of the Construction Career Collaborative (C3), ensuring that the work was completed by the most highly valued craft professionals in commercial construction and that the resulting work was of the highest quality and delivered with the best safety performance.

I wrote about the beautiful new space which I had the privilege to see for myself at a reception held for the media.  That evening I spoke with a few members of the Partnership about what the beautiful new facility would be used for as well as their decision to support the skilled craft workforce by using C3 principles on the project.   Read more » about GHP “Pays it Forward” with Support for Skilled Workforce through C3 [VIDEO]