workforce development

Growing a Sustainable Construction Workforce in Houston

As a specialty contractor with a significant hourly workforce in the commercial construction industry, I am deeply concerned about a disturbing trend that has developed over the past thirty years and has recently escalated to a new level. Beginning with the 1980s economic decline in Houston and Texas, and continuing over the last three decades, employment practices in the commercial construction industry have deteriorated to the point that, for the most part, the employee/employer relationship is almost non- existent. Except at the more responsible companies, the once valued partnership between employer and worker has been replaced by the hiring of independent 1099 contractors, “pieceworkers” and temporary staffing companies. In response to owners demanding lower prices, general contractors and specialty contractors alike have largely become “brokers” of the construction process, using contracts and questionable employment arrangements to manage labor on construction sites. What began in an effort to compete during a difficult time in the 80s has persisted through extended periods of prosperity, only to accelerate during the current economic difficulties we now face.

Crucial Changes Called For in Construction Workforce Development

Last Wednesday was a great day for reflection about the workforce issue, at least for me. It began at a lunch gathering of Associated Builders and Contractors Past Presidents and the current executive committee to gather insight and input for the coming year’s planning session objectives, as requested by the ABC Greater Houston Chapter incoming chair Tim Ricketts. As Tim asked the past presidents for recollection of significant issues, accomplishments, and struggles during their respective terms, the issues of workforce, craft training, and unions dominated the discussion. Familiar themes of owner input and related issues, union difficulties, and economics were brought up. For example, owners were paying a significant training contribution via the union wage and fringe benefits to contractors, but didn’t see the value in paying contractors or ABC to do training in a merit shop environment.

ASA Houston Discusses C3 Initiative at November Luncheon

On November 17th, the Houston Chapter of the American Subcontractors Association held its monthly membership luncheon at the HESS Club. The topic for the meeting was a panel discussion covering the Construction Career Collaborative (C3) initiative. Panelists were Peter R. Dawson, AIA, Senior Vice President, Facilities Services, Texas Children’s Hospital; Joe Savala, Associate Vice President, Facilities Administration, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center; Jim Stevenson, CEO, W.S. Bellows Construction Corporation; and Tom Vaughn, CEO, Vaughn Construction. I served as the panel moderator, leading the panel through a series of questions covering:

In Opportunity.

Marek Careers

Build your future with a winning team

MAREK would not be the thriving company it is today without our skilled and dedicated team of craft professionals. We recognize our employees are the foundation on which our success is built, which is why we strive to attract and retain the best talent available.

Class Time!

Pictured above is one of our Economics classes with instructor Ted Hajdik

Excellence in Construction Awards

Last night the Austin MBS team was awarded three prestigious awards by the Associated Builders and Contractors – Central Texas chapter: 
 
The Excellence in Construction Award went to: 
  • University of Texas Welch Hall 1929 East Wing renovation – Foreman Theo Moser, Chase McNeil, Project Manager
  • Veterans Administration Met Center Building 5 Phase 2 – Foreman Juan “Kally Man”  Mendoza, Jay D.

San Antonio Workforce Development


Attract, train, and retain the best talent in our industry. Provide targeted training to our existing workforce allowing each employee to reach his or her maximum potential. Provide a satisfying career to those that make the grade and uphold Marek values, adding value to the company and providing unmatched service to the customer.

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