In the Blog.

Building a Sustainable Craft Workforce for Your Company

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The following article was authored by Chuck Gremillion, Executive Director of Construction Career Collaborative (C3).

In my role as Executive Director of Construction Career Collaborative (C3), I make many presentations each year to building owners, general contractors, specialty contractors, design professionals and industry trade groups as I evangelize the important work we do. Nearly everyone with whom I meet recognizes that C3’s mission of achieving a safe, skilled and sustainable craft workforce is critically important to the health of all companies engaged in the construction process and to the broader economy. In fact, the unsustainability of the current craft workforce is the construction industry’s biggest threat as illustrated by the fact that recent industry surveys show that as many as 80% of construction companies state that they are having difficulty attracting people to the skilled craft trades in their companies.

This shortage of skilled craft workers is not a problem that occurred overnight. It has been brewing for 35 years. As a result, the solution will not be achieved quickly, but C3 is working to create solutions that can accelerate a solution for your company. That solution requires a short term and a long-term commitment to workforce development practices that are competitive with other industries. If the construction industry is to attract talent, it must demonstrate that there are attractive opportunities in the craft trades to those considering their career options. This is achieved with competitive workforce practices, which include:

  • Hiring craft workers as employees as opposed to contracting with them as independent subcontractors. In my opinion as well as of leaders in the industry, this is the most foundational requirement of all.
  • Creating clear construction career paths that illustrate to a young man or woman that there are many defined pathways to career growth and success in this profession.
  • Implementing skills training linked to competencies on clearly defined construction career paths that permit a craft professional to be self-directed and in control of the work process and, in a related fashion, in control of their own career.
  • Demanding a robust safety culture that demonstrates that a craft professional will return home safely each day. There is a direct correlation between competent skills training and a safe work environment at the jobsite and in the office.

At C3, we recognize that developing workforce practices to attract, train and retain talent are not easily accomplished. Many company owners and leaders have the desire to do so but lack the know-how or experience. The C3 team not only possesses the know-how, but also has simplified the process. We are here to help guide you and your company through it.

C3 Accredited Employers can receive consulting services free of charge from our two talented training experts, Angela Robbins and Reba Taville. Each of these professionals have earned a master’s degree and have extensive workforce development experience. Among the construction companies that have already benefitted from their consulting services and expertise are Karsten Interior Services, Holes Inc., Bundren Painting & Drywall, McCarthy Building Companies, Vaughn Construction, J.M. Maly, Griesenbeck, D.E. Harvey Builders, Anslow Bryant Construction, ISEC and TNT Crane & Rigging. And, this is not all. The C3 team can assist you and your company too!

If you would like to learn how C3 can help you build a sustainable craft workforce for your company, please contact Angela Robbins at angela@constructioncareercollaborative.org or by phone at 713.999.1032.

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