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C3: Collaborating to Solve Construction’s Workforce Challenges

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

The Construction Career Collaborative, or C3, has grown by leaps and bounds over the last year as a business alliance of owners, contractors and specialty contractors advocating to re-establish a highly-skilled and sustainable craft workforce for the future. We’re doing it by adhering to three principles on C3 projects: Financial security, health and well-being of the craft worker, and safety training coupled with craft training.

These principles are all essential to attracting young people to a successful and long-lasting career in the skilled craft trades.

While C3’s strategy for achieving these goals is owner-driven, the formula critical to successfully fulfilling the mission is in our name. C3 is a collaborative organization representing all components of the commercial construction industry working in concert to solve our craft workforce challenges.

The composition of the C3 Board of Directors illustrates the point perfectly.

Included in the 19 board members are four owners’ representatives, six contractors, four specialty contractors, three industry association executives and two architects. Perhaps even more telling is the fact that both merit and union shop companies/organizations are represented.

Earlier this year, a group of safety professionals representing C3 contractors, specialty contractors, union and merit shops developed and launched the C3 Safety Training Program. The training curriculum is delivered in 12 monthly modules as toolbox talks on the job sites of C3 projects or as safety classes within individual C3 member companies. Thousands of skilled craft workers in the Houston region have received this C3 safety training in the last six months after it was introduced. These numbers are expected to grow exponentially in the months and years ahead as membership in C3 expands across the region and around the state.

The C3 Craft Training Committee, like its safety counterpart, is made up of a diverse group of industry professionals including contractors and specialty contractors as well as union and merit shop training organizations. This committee has been working together for 18 months to develop and implement craft training standards, which will be piloted with a few construction companies this summer. C3 will coach, counsel and mentor these companies as they develop and implement their own craft training programs.

Further evidence of the growing success of the Construction Career Collaborative is proven by the numbers.

As of July 1, 2017, C3 now has 184 Accredited Employers, 85 Project Participants and eight Certified Staffing Agencies working on 14 C3 Projects under construction. Six additional C3 projects have been built with C3 standards by accredited companies. Among the most notable C3 metrics is the recordable incident rate for all C3 projects from the inception of its first project three years ago through May of this year is a remarkable .68. That’s a dramatic contrast with the national rate of 3.5 for the construction industry as a whole. Not only that, but the lost time incident rate for all C3 projects is zero! These numbers reflect more than 4.4 million man-hours of work.

There are other groups seeking to correct both real and perceived ills of the construction industry, but collaboration is not the name of their game. In fact, some activists are confrontational. History has shown that when people collaborate to achieve a goal, as opposed to being coerced, the probability of success is greater. The C3 track record affirms that statement.

If you are an owner, contractor or specialty contractor who believes in working together to solve the construction industry’s workforce challenges and want to be a part of the effort to do so, please consider joining your clients and peers in the Construction Career Collaborative.