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Developing the Construction Workforce —It’s more than just adding Manpower

Source: BuildHoustonOnline

Determination, dedication and diligence…

Those words seemed to be the trending topic amongst industry leaders on, Thursday, November 19, 2015 as construction industry & educational leaders joined together at the ABC & CMEF Workforce Development Luncheon held at the NRG Center in Houston, Texas. Their goal, you may ask? To inform fellow Houstonians about current workforce development activities, construction career opportunities and the benefits of the NCCER curriculum.

The presenters list included Michael Gremillion, Vice President—Houston Office, ISC Constructors, LLC; Mike Holland, Chief Operating Officer for Marek Brothers; Donnie McCoy, Senior Operations Manager at Austin Industrial; Renea Dillon, Director at Goose Creek Consolidated ISD and Career & Technical Education Principal at the Stuart Career Center; Ezequiel Garcia, CTHS CTE Department Chair and Welding Instructor at Pasadena ISD; and Eleazar Hinojosa, Fabrication Division Welder at Turner Industries Group.

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While some of the presenters are busy inside the classroom, others are working to grow the workforce from within their businesses. Similar to educators, industry professionals are passionate about the workforce, which makes developing programs for future craft workers and budding professionals a no-brainer.

“I’m passionate about the workforce and what I do. I think that it’s the most important resource that Marek and the industry has,” said Mike Holland, Chief Operating Officer for Marek Brothers. “Ironically, the craft worker is the one left out the most.”

Holland further explained that there are many other careers in the industry that get more exposure, and are great to pursue; but many individuals in, and outside the industry forget that these careers ere built around the craft worker. The men and women who build and turn ideas into a reality are the lynchpins. Without the craft worker, many of those other professional careers would not exist in the industry.

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“At Marek there are two tracks, Craft Track which allows students to come into Marek’s Workforce Development Program as a trainee and follow a structured OJT program based off of NCCER curriculum,” said Holland. “The other option is on the professional side and is our Estimator Project Manager position.”

Holland and Gremillion spoke to the importance of proper training, company involvement in the classroom and the promoting of practicing a safety state-of-mind work ethic. “Training is a step to performance,” said Holland. “Our industry needs results and not just trained people.” Students need more than just an understanding of the craft, they need job readiness preparation to truly perform and produce results in any position, which is something companies can assist with.

“Students need to be taught how to act on the job—how to communicate in a team, time management, ethics,” said Gremillion. “Educators and Employers should not assume these traits were naturally acquired, these are learned behaviors.”

Holland, Gremillion and McCoy believe that the work they put into these programs and education really does make a difference in the lives of these students.

Click here to read the entire article on BuildHoustonOnline.