Chief Operating Officer
Bundren Painting and Drywall
As a commercial painting and drywall company, we are consistently striving to learn new things and to develop a sustainable process for investing in our future workforce. Having been in business since 1984, our company has evolved, grown and seen many changes and substantial improvements in the construction industry including the relentless drive towards safety and technology. Amidst all the new designs, processes, technology, media, equipment and product evolution; the backbone for making everything work seamlessly is a well-trained and career-oriented craftsman who knows that the company they are a part of truly wants them to achieve great things. The increase of technology and lack of skilled workers over the last few decades required us to rethink the old ways and to begin investing in our employees’ personal and professional growth.
Our journey had begun! As a company, we were on our way to new and exciting territory. Three years ago, we held a strategic planning meeting in our conference room that set the stage for creating a lasting training program within our company. The intention of that program was to elevate the skill set of our workers by recognizing that a skilled and safe craft worker was an asset to our company and the community. We also noted that the entire industry suffers from a growing skilled labor shortage that has increased over time. We learned that to grow and sustain our workforce, we would have to up our game and establish a viable recruiting and training program. At that moment, we had no idea where this change would take us through a journey of simultaneously reinventing our company and dramatically increasing our ability to create deeper relationships with our industry, clients, and most of all, with our employees. Some of the brainstorming ideas from those initial sessions were white-boarded, cataloged, redesigned, tested and prioritized over the following year. The foundation was set, and even the slight improvements were immediately noticeable in our workforce attitude and performance.
Fast forward a year and a half. We joined C3 for the pilot of the craft training endorsement program. We immediately saw the parallels in the C3 program and our original intentions. We also saw the massive benefit that was offered by being a member of C3. The baseline metrics we were planning to measure were already being developed by our peers and acted on in our market. This C3 movement that we are now a part of promised to be a serious and dedicated challenge for us to implement in the beginning. The commitment to our core values and mission continue to drive us to get better every day and the C3 process is helping make that change possible. The ability for our team to join C3 and become something greater than our current company, to continually learn and contribute was exactly what we needed for Bundren to go to the next level. C3 is how we create a sustainable workforce.
We designed our training program for skilled craftworkers and then we re-designed it again and again. Currently, we have pilot tested numerous versions of our training programs one piece at a time and when we proved they worked as expected, we rolled out the change to our field and management personnel. We capitalized on our relationships with manufacturers and vendors. We began to capture and implement sourced information that was relevant to our plan and that added immediate and lasting value to our employees and our company. Throughout this on-going process, we are consistently adapting, overcoming obstacles, assessing the pros and cons of what we were going to implement, and reinforcing our core intention of having the best trained, most capable professional employees and craftworkers who go home safe to their families every night knowing they are part of something bigger and that they have a career with Bundren. As we continue to evolve this process, one thing has become very clear; we needed resources and partnerships that we had never had access to or thought we needed in the past. C3 is how we learned about the possibilities and the solutions that we want to achieve in the future for our company and for the industry.
After having our first pilot meeting with the Construction Career Collaborative, we had questions, concerns and most of all, an even bigger desire to be a part of this program as it aligned perfectly with our intended path. C3 opened their resources to us and through that association we have been able to collaborate with our clients and peers to make an impressive impact on the commercial construction industry here in the Houston market. Without an abundant amount of resources and shared desire of C3 and its member companies to elevate the level of craftworkers in the construction industry, our industry will continue to suffer from that lack of skilled craftsmen.
This is where C3 shines above most other craftworker organizations we have been a part of. The collective push to deliver quality requires a commitment to develop those individuals who possess raw talent or to attract and retain craftsmen that are looking for something more than a paycheck. The investment in these employees starts the minute you officially hire them. At that moment, as a company, we are dedicating time and resources to building a career path within our company for a construction professional that we hope will be an active member of our company and remain with us for a very long time to build a skillset and grow personally and professionally.
While overcoming obstacles and finding opportunity in all we do, this C3 challenge has been one of the most rewarding processes we have embarked on. We believe that the future of our company and our industry has to consistently evolve and change for the better in order to remain viable. Having the confidence in the fact that our journey is integral to elevating the level of our craftworker and instilling pride at all levels of our company offers its own reward. As more and more owners and contractors are raising the bar alongside us, C3 projects will be completed by skilled craftworkers and we can achieve a higher level of quality together. The ultimate result will be a better industry that can capitalize on technology and processes, to provide safe and consistent projects with forecasted results. As we at Bundren continue our journey, we will continue to share our story and invite any individual, company or owner to reach out to C3 to see what we are all about, and how we can bring value to your projects.
At Bundren, our company motto is, “We are in the business of building partnerships” and our goals and objectives are there for our workforce as well as for our clients. We believe that creating well trained craftsmen and offering a career path builds a partnership within an organization and across an industry. We are committed to the C3 process and to the success of our peers in the industry.
From Dirty, Dangerous and Dead-End to Safe, Skilled and Sustainable - Changing the Perception of Construction Careers
According to Meredith Watassek, Director of Career and Technical Education at Fort Bend Independent School District, “A sustainable workforce starts by educating the middle and high school student and their parents and counselors to the viable career options in construction and other career and technical trades.” Construction Career Collaborative and our Accredited Employers realize that Meredith is absolutely correct. It has motivated C3 companies, Vaughn Construction and TRIO Electric, to create programs that bring high school students to construction sites in Houston to experience the industry first hand while working a summer job. TRIO, a specialty contractor, and Vaughn, a general contractor, have different needs and have designed different programs but each one has the intended outcome of creating more interest and enthusiasm in young workers for a career in the commercial construction industry.
TRIO, a merit shop electrical contractor, has developed a strong relationship with multiple school districts across the state where there are Career and Technical Education programs. The long-term vision of the school relationship is two-fold. The first benefit is for the school district. As CTE programs are returning to school’s they need industry input and guidance to create highly engaging and industry relevant curriculums. As the industry advocate for Spring Branch ISD’s electrical program, TRIO created the TRIO Pre-Apprenticeship Program (TPAP), a DOL approved pre-apprenticeship program that teaches students how to be safe, productive and skilled electricians as well as other employable and soft skills needed in the construction industry. The pre-apprenticeship program is available to Spring Branch students starting their Junior year and fulfills the 144 hours of related classroom instruction recommended by the DOL. TRIO hopes that as students complete the program it solidifies their resolve and desire to join the construction industry, specifically to join TRIO’s Apprenticeship Program (TAP) offered at TRIO after graduation. The pre-apprenticeship program provides TRIO with a more robust pipeline of potential electricians and gives students an opportunity to learn more about a career in the construction field. TRIO’s president, Beau Pollock, said, “The relationship with Spring Branch has yielded great results and is being emulated in other school districts. Unless we (the construction industry) are getting in front of these kids, their parents and guidance counselors, construction is going to continue to be viewed as dirty, dangerous and dead-end. We have to create a different experience for them if we intend to change the way construction is perceived.”
For Vaughn Construction, a general contractor, the process of recruiting and exposing high school students to the construction trades looks different. Knowing that they would have to create a unique program, Vaughn designed and implemented the Student Training Employment Program (STEP). The program is a short-term summer employment opportunity for high school students who have reached the age of 17 and will be returning to high school for their senior year in the fall or are permanently joining the workforce. The program is not a student-learner program or apprenticeship program like the TRIO offering. Instead it is a short-term employment opportunity that provides structure for the young employee to learn from a mentor and be exposed to a variety of construction trade specific work opportunities. The opportunities range from clerical work to rough carpentry and steel reinforcement. Additionally, training is provided at the beginning of employment around safety, housekeeping, and hazard awareness. By assigning the high school employees to jobsite mentors, Vaughn is able to assess the student’s ability and desire to pursue more work in the construction trades. This feedback is provided at the end of the 90-day work assignment. Vaughn’s CEO, Tom Vaughn “believes the STEP program is a good way to start bring on high school students,” and that the “benefits reach farther than the student and Vaughn by creating a stronger image of our industry as a viable choice for a successful career.”
C3 companies are working had to create opportunities in our industry that advance all of us. To learn more about exciting work taking place to connect high school CTE programs with C3 companies or to join the journey toward creating an image of construction as safe, skilled and sustainable career option, contact Angela Robbins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713.999.1032. Be part of the solution. C3 is how.
I recently attended a half-day conference in Houston with school administrators, construction company executives and design professionals hosted by the Association for Learning Environments, also known as A4LE. It featured a panel moderated by a general contractor that included executives of two specialty contractors and a staffing agency. These executives were asked to identify the biggest challenges faced by the construction industry today. Not surprisingly, “workforce” was clearly identified as the issue at the top of the list. Each panelist bemoaned the difficulty in finding and retaining skilled labor as well as its impact on construction costs and schedules. Tangentially, C3 was mentioned as an organization that is working to address this challenge, Illustrating that there is growing awareness that this problem can be solved.
Workforce, or lack of a sustainable one, is why C3 was established. Over the past 35 years, the construction industry has largely moved away from a craft workforce of skilled, professional employees to one of unskilled, independent subcontractors. While this description is not true for all contractors and specialty contractors, it is the perception of the construction industry that exists today among most Americans. The construction industry is losing the talent battle to other industries, and that will continue until construction employers change their workforce practices, which, in turn, will change the negative perception of the industry.
C3’s formula is the solution to changing the current negative perception of a career in the craft trades of construction to a positive one that attracts the interest of young people in middle school and high school, their parents, school counselors and advisors. A key component of any program like C3 is for construction companies to offer craft training linked to a career path, a critical element for any employer’s strategy to attract and retain high quality candidates. It is also the area where C3 provides expertise and counsel for C3 Accredited Employers. It takes a commitment by you as the employer, and C3 can guide you through the development of your craft-training program.
In fact, C3 is establishing several peer groups made up of construction companies from like trades to share their experiences and best practices as they develop their respective craft-training initiatives. We have a pilot group of employers from the Flooring & Tile trades that has been working together since January, and other peer groups are currently being formed that will begin to meet in July and August. Included among these are groups from:
As was stated by those on the panel at the conference described earlier, “workforce” is the construction industry’s biggest challenge. That challenge exists because many construction employers take shortcuts with their craft workforce, thereby creating a negative perception of the entire industry. C3 is the business coalition that is helping companies change that perception and create a highly skilled, professional craft workforce.
Someone once said that a rising tide lifts all boats. Be a part of the solution, not part of the problem, and change the way that the industry recruits, trains and retains its skilled craft workforce of the future.
For more information on joining a peer group or creating a craft-training program, please contact Angela Robbins at 713.999.1032 or email@example.com.
C3 is how.
The Construction Industry is in desperate need of a sustainable workforce. But, what does sustainable really mean? A sustainable workforce is one that balances supply of skilled craft workers to the demand produced for their craft. Based on the average age of Houston’s current craft workforce, the demand for skilled labor will continue to rise as senior craft professionals reach retirement over the next decade. To meet the growing demand for safe, skilled craft professionals, we must realize there is a shortage of labor resources and we must change the way we approach the “skilling up” of craft professionals that are entering the ranks as laborers and helpers.
For the last few decades, Houston’s commercial construction workforce has had an adequate supply of practicing craft professionals that were already highly skilled and required little or no training. As this workforce performed well and was adequate for demand, many training programs waned or fell by the wayside. During the Great Recession, a large number of craft workers left the industry or found jobs in other industries. With the current uptick in the construction industry, the dwindling labor pool and the aging workforce, Houston is already experiencing workforce sustainability issues.
At C3, we saw this trend coming and established taskforces to explore possible solutions, yet the industry continues to neglect the development of craft training programs that will lead unskilled workers toward lifelong careers as skilled craft professionals. We continue to rely on “haphazard” and “hit or miss” training methods hoping that miraculously we will produce highly skilled craft workers for our jobsites. To survive the next two decades, we must break free of the way we have “always done things” and move to a stronger, more productive model for growing the skilled workforce.
Imagine our current model is like a pickup stuck in the mud. Experience tells us that the truck will remain in the mud unless we take action. We can either spin the tires and hope they find enough traction to move us forward or we can get out of the truck and dig ourselves out. While the first option might take less personal effort, the odds of good results are slim and eventually the truck may sink even further into the mud. While the second option requires more effort, may get messy and even require help, it will eventually move the truck out of the mud and get us moving toward our destination.
Our current training strategies, like the truck, have us stuck in the mud spinning our tires. C3 is here to offer the help you need to dig your training program out of the mud and put you back on level ground. As a benefit to all C3 Accredited Employers, you can work alongside a workforce and training coach or join a cohort group that is working on the same training and skilled workforce issues as your company. C3 cohort groups meet and share ideas, challenges and successes of their craft training program development and implementation. Members of those cohort groups benefit from the guided facilitation of sessions covering different aspects of the Leader level Craft Training Endorsement Program. If meeting in a cohort group isn’t conducive for your company, we can deliver customized monthly or quarterly sessions for your training team or you individually.
Digging the truck out of the mud is much easier with help so don’t hesitate to sign up. Cohort groups are forming now, contact Angela Murphy at 713.999.1032 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.
During my four-plus years as Executive Director of Construction Career Collaborative (C3), I have been surprised by the many myths and misconceptions that I have encountered. Given that C3’s mission benefits all the parties that comprise the commercial construction industry, building owners, construction companies and the craft workforce, in addition to the ultimate users of the buildings, I would assert that C3 is a win-win-win for everyone.
More on that later, but first let me address some of the myths and misconceptions often attributed to C3.
Myth #1. “The purpose of C3 is to unionize merit shop construction companies.” A quick survey of the make up of the board of directors of C3 shows that this statement is false. The C3 board is comprised of eight general contractors (one union and seven merit shop), five specialty contractors (one union and four merit shop), three industry association executives (one union, one merit shop and one agnostic), four owners’ representatives and principals from two architectural firms. C3 is what its name describes, a collaborative organization working to solve the industry’s craft workforce challenge.
Myth #2. “C3 is a money grab.” C3 is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with four employees. It has no shareholders and does not have any profits to distribute. The only source of revenue allowing the organization to cover salaries and benefits comes from fundraisers, accreditation fees and donations. C3’s four employees have the responsibility of attracting owners, GCs, specialty contractors and other industry-affiliated organizations to C3 and our mission. We also insure compliance with C3 principles, administer C3’s training database, safety program and enrollment processes. Importantly, in a time of craft worker shortages, we mentor construction companies as they develop and implement craft training programs linked to a career path while earning C3’s craft training endorsement.
Myth #3. “C3 requires a minimum wage.” C3 does not require a minimum wage other than what is prescribed by federal law. C3 does mandate that workers be employees and not independent subcontractors. In fact, C3 believes that the free market should determine the pay of craft workers. C3 believes that a trained, skilled craft worker does high quality work, and more of it, in less time with less rework, which creates demand for that craft worker’s services and results in a growth in their wages naturally through the economic law of supply and demand.
Myth #4. “C3 will audit my company’s payroll records.” C3 compliance checks consist of limited job-site interviews of craft workers to make certain that they are being paid as hourly employees and not as independent subcontractors, and that each worker has their OSHA 10 or 30 safety credential. In addition, C3 verifies that each C3 accredited company carries worker’s compensation insurance. If C3 identifies an issue during its compliance checks, we will ask the company in question to provide documentation that verifies conformance with C3 policies. C3 does not perform financial audits.
Myth #5. “C3 adds cost to a construction project.” C3 accreditation fees are nominal. A “Project Participant” pays one half of one percent of the cost of its contract with a minimum fee of $100 and a maximum fee of $2,000. “Accredited Employers” pay an annual fee of $1,500, which entitles each company to work on as many C3 projects as it wins in that 12-month time period. Craft workers on C3 projects are required to have an OSHA 10 safety credential, and field supervisors must have an OSHA 30 safety credential. C3 Accredited Employers receive consulting advice and access to craft training templates and tools free of charge as a benefit of their accreditation. To date, one project has been bid both with C3 requirements and without them. On that project, the bid differential was four one hundredths of one percent.
Myth #6. “Owners pay a fee to C3.” Owners pay no fees to C3.
Myth #7. “If I train my employees, my competitors will steal them for $.25 per hour more in pay.” Historical training data states that when a company invests in training for its workforce, its employee retention and morale increase. However, the opposite is also true. Employee turnover is higher when a company does not train. And further, the only thing worse than training employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay!
Myth #8. “C3 is all about immigration.” As a 501(c)(3) organization, C3 cannot and will not take a political stand on any issue. That being said, C3 believes that the commercial construction industry should provide training for all of its craft workers no matter their origin.
As I mentioned in the beginning, the C3 formula benefits all parties. The craft worker receives training to work safely, skillfully and autonomously. This enables them to create demand for their services because they are more productive and require less supervision, which grows their wages. C3 Accredited Employers receive high-quality work, and more of it, with less rework, which translates to greater productivity and higher profitability. Owners receive top-notch buildings with longer building lifecycles and lower maintenance costs. This formula is why 10 of Houston’s highest profile owners and more than 350 construction companies subscribe to the C3 formula today. How about you? C3.is.how.
C3 is working for the commercial construction industry to establish a safe, skilled and sustainable craft workforce for projects across the Houston region. In order to achieve that goal, C3 works with construction companies like yours to help you develop and deliver training programs linked to a career path that enables your craft workers to perform safely and skillfully in their craft on your projects. This C3 approach enables construction companies to attract people to a career in the craft trades, an effort that will prove critical to the industry as it deals with more complex projects and an ever-shrinking labor force.
To date, 10 owners and 350 general and specialty contractors have joined together to embrace the C3 principles, break new ground and move the industry forward. These companies employ nearly 17,000 construction workers, and they have provided construction services on 25 C3 projects with a value exceeding $1.7 billion.
But, as I have mentioned to numerous people in my presentations around the region, C3 is a work in progress. Like you, we are constantly searching for ways to improve our processes and our communication to match the reality of the changing commercial construction industry in the Houston Region. We are proposing new approaches that are already showing signs of quality improvement. An example is that the Total Recordable Incident Rate of C3 projects is five times better than the rate for the construction industry nationally. Further, the Lost Time Incident Rate of C3 projects is more than 60 times better than the construction industry nationally.
Knowing that craft training is a critical piece to the goal of creating a sustainable workforce, we have launched the C3 Craft Training Endorsement Program. The recognizes the work being done by C3 Accredited Employers around craft training tied to a career path. Additionally, the program provides C3 Accredited Employers access to tools, coaching and training resources to establish or improve their craft and professional training programs.
Because C3 is driving change in the industry, one of the natural challenges we encounter is resistance from those who misunderstand our goals and the strategies to achieve them. Many times this resistance is caused by misinformation. As a result, C3 will broaden its reach so that we can better communicate to all individuals that are a part of the commercial construction industry. The message must get to craft workers, middle management, and office personnel as well as executives and owners. Our communication must be clear around the mission of C3, our strategies to achieve that mission and the metrics that gauge our progress.
We are making progress, but we need your help as a C3 advocate to spread the good news about C3 to your entire workforce and anyone who asks about C3.
With your commitment, together we can fulfill the C3 mission of creating a safe, skilled and sustainable craft workforce. C3.is.how.
To join the effort, contact me at email@example.com or 713.999.1218.
Associate Director, People Development, Compliance & Operations
The goal of all craft training is to build new knowledge, skills and abilities in our craft workforce. The best way to ensure this happens is to build programs that include both passive and active forms of learning activities. Passive learning occurs during lectures, videos, readings, and demonstrations. The learner is engaged with the content but only in a passive manner through observation. Passive instruction is a good way to deliver knowledge but doesn’t work on building skill or ability. Active learning, designed to build skill and competency, includes learning activities like group discussions, practice by doing, immediate use in real world simulation or application, and through the teaching of others.
When a skill is new, it is important to use passive instruction to introduce the knowledge of the subject and to pair that with active instruction to practice or implement the skill. Studies show that when passive and active learning are paired together, that retention goes up dramatically. When you compare retention of what workers are told in class and see in a demonstration what they do in simulation and teach to others in groups, after two weeks those doing simulation and teaching will retain 40% more than their counterparts who only learned passively. This data simply reinforces the need for quality on-the-job training programs.
A commercial construction company seeking to build a high quality and productive craft workforce should design craft training programs that couple classroom or jobsite instruction with immediate practice or implementation in the lab or field environment. When craft workers practice new skills and are asked to “teach back” the skills to mentors, supervisors or other craft workers, they more quickly gain skill competency. Want to build a program like this for your craft workforce? C3.is.how.
Construction Career Collaborative, C3, encourages commercial construction companies to standardize the on-the-job (OJT) training they already offer and supplement it with both passive instruction and formalized assessment. Construction has relied heavily on OJT. Formal and informal programs that follow this model couple classroom and OJT into apprenticeship-type learning programs. This produces competent workers who learn and retain what is given to them on the job. C3 offers consulting services and templates to help all C3 Accredited Employers create standardized competency modes and OJT programs for all accredited employers. To schedule a consulting session and begin the design process of your own blended OJT program, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713.999.1032.
Chuck Gremillion, C3 Executive Director
One of the challenges of establishing the credibility of the C3 formula for success has been the difficulty in collecting data that illustrates the value of craft training. When we began to collect the data that makes the case for craft training, we found an outstanding example from Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing, one of the C3 Accredited Employers.
Art Canales, Chamberlin Vice President and a member of the C3 Craft Training Committee, is a huge advocate of craft training linked to a career path because it has proven to pay for itself many times over at Chamberlin as illustrated by the following example.
In 2007, Chamberlin experienced “call backs” to completed projects that cost $2 million that year alone. The sheer size of this expense prompted executives at Chamberlin to make the strategic decision to develop and implement a craft-training program for the Chamberlin craft workforce. In the ten years after they implemented their training program, 2008-2017, Chamberlin reduced the cost of “call backs” to $350,000, a savings of $1.65 million per year. During the same time period, Chamberlin’s business increased, and their revenue grew by 400%.
Another indicator of the value of the Chamberlin craft training program is that Chamberlin’s retention rate for its craft professionals who were trained in its 14-week apprentice program, as measured two years after program completion, is now 90%. As a result of this experience, Chamberlin has increased its investment in overall training and in its employee profit sharing program. I cannot imagine any greater testimony to the value of craft training than this.
All parties in the Houston commercial construction industry are learning about the benefits of safety and craft training. The building owner gets a safer better-built structure with lower maintenance costs and a longer building lifecycle. The construction company benefits from having skilled craft workers who are more productive and deliver higher quality work with far less rework. The skilled craft professionals themselves benefit from greater productivity and demand for their services, which naturally grows their wages through the law of supply and demand. That process of training and growing professionally enables them to earn a healthy living in a rewarding career in their chosen profession. The Houston commercial construction industry, in turn, benefits from having a sustainable craft workforce because young people will recognize the career opportunity and will be attracted to the craft trades to replace those skilled craft professionals who are retiring after a career in the industry.
If you are interested in learning more about how C3 can help your organization build a skilled and sustainable craft workforce that pays for itself many times over, as exemplified by the experience of Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing, please contact me at 713.999.1218 or by email at email@example.com.
Associate Director, People Development, Compliance & Operations
The industry has been told that the current skilled labor shortages will get worse as the economy improves, a generation of aging skilled workers retires and a new generation enters the industry. Key to that recruitment of a new skilled workforce is a well-defined and executed training program.
To assist in training and development of high caliber training programs, the Construction Career Collaborative (C3) launched a Craft Training Endorsement Program in January 2018. The program encourages commercial construction companies to apply for C3 endorsement of their craft training programs. The C3 program has three levels of recognition and all C3 Accredited Employers must obtain and maintain at least Recognized level. However, for the best impact on workforce sustainability C3 recommends that all companies strive to reach Leader level.
The levels each correspond to specific criteria that demonstrate the maturity of the craft training program being offered by the Accredited Employer. The list below describes the elements required at each level.
All of the following:
Recognized” plus 3 of the following 4:
Leader” plus 2 of the following 3:
As the list suggests, Recognized is the basic level and demonstrates that a company is committed to offering craft training to all employees. The endorsement audit measures leadership commitment, training development, delivery and tracking. This development and delivery can be done in-house or by a 3rd party. The goal of the recognized endorsement is to demonstrate that training is taking place and being tracked.
Moving up from Recognized to Leader level endorsement is a large delta because it requires that a company must create a career path for each craft position at the company. The career path details a series of classes, assessments, OJT tasks or other learning opportunities designed to prepare a craft worker to move to the next level within the profession. Each career path must be documented and tracked.
Additionally, Leader companies provide 2 of the following 3 items:
Moving from Leader to Champion requires that a company focus on the culture and performance of the company in relation to craft training. Champion companies do all the things that Leader companies do as well as 2 of the following 3 items:
Companies can self-elect to enter the endorsement program at any level or may elect to enter as pre-program. Pre-program companies have no current training and agree to design and begin delivering craft training at the Recognized level within 18 months. For more information on the program and impact of training attend one of C3’s monthly town halls. If you are ready to jump into the program but need some personalized assistance, request a consulting session from C3’s craft training coach Angela Murphy at 713.999.1032.
One of the questions that I am often asked when I speak to folks in the commercial construction industry about our work at Construction Career Collaborative is “When is C3 going to begin recruiting kids coming out of high school?” It is frequently followed by the observation that not everyone is meant for college and surely the young people who choose not to pursue a college degree would be interested in a career in the craft trades of the construction industry. My response is not necessarily so, at least not yet.
As I wrote in my most recent post, it is time for the construction industry to change the perception of a career in the craft trades to “sustainable, successful and safe” from “dirty, dangerous and dead end.” That is a generational task.
While there are many construction companies who today provide excellent career opportunities, the industry as a whole is hurt by the negative perception that has been created by those companies whose workforce practices perpetuate this negative image. This is the image that currently exists in the minds of most high schoolers, their parents and school counselors. The fact that we pushed college for every high school graduate over the last two generations contributed to the current status. But that is changing and C3 is one of the ways we are getting the positive message out to the schools and potential workforce.
C3’s strategy is simple. The commercial construction industry needs to look at and follow the lead of other successful industries. We must treat our craft workers as valued assets, as employees, and not independent subcontractors. We must teach them to work skillfully with craft training programs linked to a career path, which enables them to earn a healthy living and live a prosperous life. And very importantly, we must continuously provide our craft workers the training to work safely.
Once commercial construction companies, in large numbers, adopt workforce practices that are competitive with other industries, the conversation with students, parents and counselors will change. That change has begun in the companies who are members of C3. As that occurs, the perception of a career in the craft trades will too. C3 has a strategy to make that change a reality.
If you or your company is interested in learning more about how C3 can help your organization, please contact me, or my colleague, Angela Murphy. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you. C3.is.how.
Construction Industry Institute (CII)
Construction Users Roundtable (CURT)
National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)