One of the most important determinants of an organization’s success is the perception of its brand in the marketplace. A company’s “brand” is defined as the perception of a product, service, experience or organization. Brand in the construction industry is heavily influenced by a Contractor’s or Specialty Contractor’s reputation for delivering quality work on time and within budget.
There are obviously many factors that influence a construction company’s reputation and brand, but none is more important than the quality, skill and dependability of its workforce. Deductive reasoning should lead one to the conclusion that a construction employer’s investment in proven talent management practices, which includes the safety and skills training of its craft workforce, will have a direct impact on its ability to safely deliver high quality work in a timely manner. This translates to greater demand for that company’s services, revenue growth, higher profits, a great reputation and a positive perception of its brand by the consumers of its services, its employees and job seekers considering their future employer.
Assuming that the importance of building a positive brand makes sense, let’s identify objective ways to measure a brand’s impact. Some metrics to consider might include the following:
Of course, a positive brand should translate to fewer workforce and project-related issues, more project opportunities, revenue growth and greater profitability, but it requires a strong commitment from the construction employer. C3 is here to help construction companies build their brands with workforce development consulting services that are free of charge for C3 Accredited Employers. To date, C3 has consulted with many, many companies - large and small, Contractors and Specialty Contractors. We can help your company too!
How is your craft workforce impacting your company’s reputation and brand?
For additional information, please contact C3 Associate Director, Angela Robbins, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (713)999-1032.
Without a doubt, the current health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is both tragic and devastating for the USA and the world. Just a few months ago, America was experiencing record-low unemployment rates not seen in 50 years, which translated to huge demand for construction services, especially in Texas. How quickly and tragically things have changed.
While the construction industry has been deemed essential and has continued to work, businesses in the hospitality, restaurant and travel industries have been clobbered resulting in large scale layoffs not seen since the Great Depression. These workers need employment now, and the result of the pandemic may trigger a shift in the workforce, a “new normal”.
This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for construction companies as people who have lost their jobs in other industries consider new careers. These unemployed workers will be looking for stable careers in growth industries, with companies that know how to attract, screen, onboard, develop and manage talent. This represents an opportunity to access a pool of talented people never seen before. Construction is definitely a growth industry, but is your company prepared for this windfall of mature, talented and hungry workers?
While the solution requires a long-term commitment to strong talent management practices, C3 is capable of helping your company develop the practices that will enable it to attract and develop high quality candidates, the people that will take it to the next level. C3’s consulting services are free of charge for C3 Accredited Employers. While the COVID-19 pandemic is requiring C3 personnel to office from home, our People Development Professionals are continuing to consult with Accredited Employers via Zoom video calls, and we have helped many companies, both Contractors and Specialty Contractors, develop job descriptions, evaluation programs and craft training tied to a career path.
If you are ready to launch your company forward toward the “new normal”, please contact C3 Associate Director, Angela Robbins, via email at email@example.com, or by phone at 713.999.1032.
Be safe! Stay healthy!
During these trying times created by the COVID-19 virus, it struck me just how important the construction industry is, and specifically the craft workers that build our structures. It is not a coincidence that those that make up the construction industry are considered essential along with first responders, healthcare workers and grocery store employees, among others. The people that fill these critical positions are the foundation of our society. If you aren’t sure of that, just imagine the chaos that would reign without them.
Too often, the construction craft worker is taken for granted by those that use, occupy and benefit from the buildings and structures they construct. Imagine a society without the construction craft worker. Imagine a society without highways, office buildings, hospitals, chemical plants, schools, churches, arenas and shopping centers. Without the craft professional, complex structures such as these would not exist.
Take a bow Mr./Ms. electrician, plumber, welder, millwright, rebar rodbuster, concrete finisher, carpenter, sheet rocker, roofer, painter, landscaper, tile setter, acoustical ceiling installer, fire proofer, glazer, HVAC technician, sheet metal craftsperson, steel erector, cabinetmaker, heavy equipment operator and many more. You are the rocks of our society. You are the professionals that build America! We are proud to call you our neighbor! You are essential! THANK YOU!!
As Construction Career Collaborative (C3) approaches the tenth anniversary of its founding, it is important to reflect on its history and provide an update on its progress toward achieving its goal of a safe, skilled and sustainable craft workforce for the commercial construction industry.
When the idea of C3 was conceived ten years ago, the construction industry was struggling mightily to attract people to careers in the craft trades. The root cause of the problem could be traced back to human resource practices driven by the need to be low bid in order to win construction projects. It was not uncommon to find companies that did not employ W2 employees, but instead had 1099 independent subcontractors. Since these craft workers were not employees:
• They were typically paid by the piece, and not by the hour, which meant that they did not earn overtime pay if they worked more than 40 hours in a seven-day period.
• They did not receive skills training.
• They were not protected by workers compensation insurance in the event that they were injured while working on the job.
• There was no construction career path.
• In addition, craft wages had remained flat for 30 years.
Craft workers were not treated as a valued asset, but instead as an expendable commodity. No wonder the industry could not attract the interest of a young person coming out of high school, or an individual considering a career change. Commercial construction’s human resource practices were not competitive with other industries pursuing the same candidates.
Enter C3. Like its name implies, C3 is a collaborative effort of building owners, union and merit shop contractors and specialty contractors, industry associations and design professionals seeking to establish a sustainable craft workforce with competitive workforce development practices focused on safety and skills training linked to construction career paths.
Fast forward 10 years and C3 has truly begun to change the conversation. Craft workers employed by C3 accredited companies are hourly employees that earn overtime pay. These same craft workers have earned at minimum an OSHA 10 credential and many have an OSHA 30 credential, or both. C3 Accredited Employers that employ these craft workers commit to provide skills training that is linked to construction career paths.
The proof is in these numbers:
• 278 Accredited Employers
• 102 Accredited Employers (and counting) that have earned a C3 Craft Training Endorsement
• 47 C3 Projects
• 27,343 craft workers in C3 Training Database
• 18,276 craft workers in the C3 Training Database that have earned either an OSHA 10 or OSHA 30 credential or both
• .81 - aggregate Total Recordable Incident Rate for all C3 Projects;
o 333% better than the national average for non-residential construction
The above numbers are also supported by a changing narrative pertaining to careers in the construction industry. What was once perceived as a stop-gap job is now being considered as a possible career by many people. Wages are growing because the demand for skilled craft workers is great. Career & Technical Education programs in local school districts are providing curriculum for those students interested in a career in certain construction trades such as carpentry, HVAC and electrical, among others.
Finally, and most importantly, C3 is here to assist construction companies as they implement the workforce development practices that make them competitive. In fact, C3 provides consulting services free of charge to its Accredited Employers to guide them along the way. C3 is also launching a five-hour workforce development class entitled Driving Business Results Through Talent Management later this month and each month thereafter throughout 2020. This class will share with attendees the best practices of industry leaders for how to attract, onboard, develop, evaluate and promote employees.
If your company is not yet involved with C3, or it is but you want to learn more, please contact C3 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Angela Robbins
We wanted to give you the real answers about C3’s classification of Pre-Program for Craft Training Endorsement. Here are the top six questions we hear most often from our pre-program companies.
1. What does it mean if we are Pre-Program?
Pre-Program is simply a categorization that shows your company’s level of progress toward designing, developing and implementing its craft training programs. C3 Craft Training Endorsement has three levels for companies that already have developed and implemented craft training programs : Recognized, Leader and Champion. If a company does not have a documented or implemented craft training program they are categorized as Pre-Program.
2. What is my company required to do if we are in the Pre-Program category?
Being Pre-Program allows a company 12 months to design, develop and implement a craft training program. Generally, this includes formalizing and documenting on-the-job training or other craft training that is taking place already. When the 12 months is over the company should be prepared to elevate to Recognized Level Endorsement or even higher.
3. What is my company required to provide C3 during my 12 months of development time?
C3 has four (4) milestones for the Pre-Program company to meet in order to remain in compliance throughout the development period.
Absolutely, we are available to help you throughout the entire process. Our People Development department has the templates and knowledge to help any company move out of Pre-Program to endorsed in craft training. We are available as often as you need us… just schedule a meeting with us at email@example.com.
5. Great! What’s all that consulting cost our company?
That’s the best part! C3 believes in you, your company, and your craft workers. Therefore, the support that we provide is included in your C3 Accredited Employer annual fee. You need only to activate the service by contacting us at peopledev@C3.org. And you can keep using our services even after you earn an endorsement to grow and enhance your training programs. We are available to any C3 Accredited Employer who needs us. Our goal is to assist your company in any way possible as we all work together to create a safer, more skilled and sustainable craft workforce.
6. What happens if our company misses milestones or doesn’t complete the pre-program requirement?
It is our sincerest hope that you never miss a milestone. However, should you find yourself in this predicament, we urge you to contact us immediately and share your plan to remedy the issue. Should you fall behind, and we don’t hear from you at a milestone checkpoint, we have a non-compliance process that will allow you 45 days to regain compliance, while also working to meet the next milestone. The 45 days will begin as of the date that you receive an email communication from the C3 People Development Team indicating that you have been placed on non-compliance status. If you don’t get back on track within the 45 days, you will be placed on Conditional Status and current project managers will be notified that you have been disabled in our C3 Craft Training Database and are out of compliance with our program. Conditional Status prohibits your company from participating on C3 Projects.
While the program may seem daunting or even a bit overwhelming at first, we are here to assist you to make the process easier and more productive for your employees. And, our People Development Team has proven its value to many companies that we have already helped. Ready to create and implement a quality craft training program for your team? Reach out today and let’s get started.
If your company is a C3 Accredited Employer and employs less 100 employees, it is eligible to be reimbursed by C3 for the costs associated with training, and there are no strings attached. This is free money, and it can be like finding up to $2,000 on the sidewalk! If I have your attention, please read on.
As some of you may be aware, C3 is the recipient of a $100,000 grant from Texas Mutual Insurance, the largest workers compensation insurance carrier in Texas. A significant portion of this grant money has been designated to reimburse the cost of training-related expenses for small businesses. To be more specific, C3 will reimburse the cost of training-related expenses, up to $2,000, for C3 Accredited Employers that have less than 100 employees. Covered expenses include the cost of the training class itself and the wages associated with it for the employees that completed the training. The types of training that are covered include, but are not limited to, skills training, safety training and management or leadership training for those that supervise or lead the craft workforce.
Another large portion of this grant has been designated to underwrite the cost of the C3 accreditation fee for Small Businesses and Historically Underutilized Businesses. To date, 21 companies have been the beneficiary of this grant money, which very importantly provides them access to C3’s consulting services, free of charge, pertaining to the development and delivery of craft training programs linked to construction career paths.
If you are interested in being reimbursed for the costs associated with the training of your craft workforce, please contact C3 Operations Administrator, Diane Aguilar. Diane can be reached via email at diane@C3.org or by phone (713)999-1324.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 713.999.1032.
I have always been a no-nonsense girl and have rarely taken ‘no’ for an answer in my career. The idea of not being allowed to do something simply because I am a woman is difficult for me to tolerate. But this has been a reality for women in the workplace for generations. Although much has been done to create a more equal career opportunity for women, hiring practices, bias and lack of applicants continue to plague many industries. Construction is one such industry. Addressing this lack of female employees has been talked about for years and companies have begun providing more programming and opportunities but there is still more work to be done. Inside the ranks of Construction Career Collaborative, we can find several different strategies to attract, hire and retain females in the industry.
Seeking to create dialogue with a group of young women in our Independent School Districts (ISDs), C3 is partnering with the Houston Chapter of National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to sponsor an all-female construction career expo in October. Approximately 1000 girls from 6th -12th grade will be invited to participate in an interactive exploration of careers in construction and those companies that support the industry with equipment, safety and tools. On October 17, 2019 the M.O. Campbell Center, in Aldine ISD, will host these young women as they interact with demonstrations, hands-on displays, and presentations from civil, commercial and industrial contractors. Each young woman will be provided with a hard hat, safety vest, gloves and opportunity to realize that “WE Can” build. And as Houston continues to grow that our built environment can be something they build “#SHEbuildsHouston.” The presentations will also illustrate the “hybrid” careers that provide the opportunity to spend part of their time in the field and part of it in the office, like project superintendent or safety engineer.
Registration opens on July 25, 2019 on the Construction Career Collaborative website.www.constructioncareercollaborative.org /WECan Underwriter, sponsorship and demonstration booth opportunities are available. As an industry, this is our chance to tell young women we want them in construction and that we are open to helping them join us and flourish in a construction career. Don’t miss your opportunity to participate as we expect to sell out quickly. Please reach out to me, Angela Robbins, email@example.com for more information on planning and registration for this one of a kind powerful event.
Nearly ten years ago, a group of leaders in the Houston commercial construction industry met to discuss its biggest future challenge, an aging and diminishing craft workforce. Baby Boomers were (and still are) reaching retirement age at the rate of 10,000 people each day, and the construction trades were not attracting young talent to replenish them. In short, what was once a healthy, sustainable craft workforce was no longer. The construction industry was losing the battle for talent to other industries whose workforce practices were perceived as providing better opportunities and a brighter future.
When these leaders examined the underlying cause of the issue, they realized that the human resources practices that originally created a skilled and sustainable craft workforce had largely vanished. Many companies had severed the employer-employee relationship, which eliminated traditional employee benefits as well as Social Security, Medicare and state and federal unemployment tax benefits. Craft workers were being paid as independent subcontractors. The provision of skills training had ceased, and as a result, construction career paths had all but ended.
From this meeting sprung the idea of the Construction Career Collaborative (C3), a diverse organization of owners (those who purchase construction services), general contractors, specialty contractors, industry trade organizations and design professionals whose goal is to create a safe, skilled and sustainable craft workforce. Foundational to this organization are three core principles – proper human resource practices, the pursuit, development and adoption of the best construction-industry safety standards and skills training linked to construction career paths.
Fast forward to today and C3 has made significant strides forward in all three of these areas of focus. Much of the industry has recognized the importance of the employer-employee relationship and how it relates to the development of its craft workforce. Rarely will a company invest in the training of a craft worker who is not its employee. These companies also recognize that they cannot compete for talent in a job market with unemployment rates below 4% without the competitive human resource practices that C3 prescribes.
These competitive practices include safety standards that enable craft workers to return home safely at the end of each work day. C3 requires that each craft worker on a C3 jobsite earn an OSHA 10 safety credential and their supervisors earn an OSHA 30 safety credential. In fact, we believe that C3 projects may be the only ones in the USA, in the commercial construction industry, where all workers meet this standard. Additionally, in just 29 months, there have been 94,746 attendees in C3 Safety Refresher Training, which consists of 12 training modules, delivered once per month, and specific to commercial construction. This training and certification translates into a safer working environment that is exemplified by an aggregate Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) on C3 projects of .86, 300% better than the national average for all non-residential construction in this country as measured by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Finally, and maybe the most critical measure of C3’s progress towards a goal of building a safe, skilled and sustainable craft workforce, is the rapidly growing number of companies investing in and developing their craft training programs. These companies know that trained, skilled workers are not only safer workers, but they produce high quality work, and more of it, in less time with less rework and less supervision resulting in higher employee morale, lower employee turnover, growing sales revenue and higher profit margins. To date, 173 companies, both general contractors and specialty contractors, have enrolled in the C3 Craft Training Endorsement Program, and 60 of these companies have earned a coveted C3 Craft Training Endorsement. In fact, we believe that there is a strong possibility that 100 companies will achieve an endorsement by year end.
It should not go without mention that the C3 training team is consulting with many of the above-referenced companies to guide them through the development of their respective craft training initiatives. This is a critical component of the C3 formula because we recognize that a large number of construction companies do not have an HR/Training Department. As a result, they may not have the expertise or “know how” to develop and deliver craft skills training and link it to construction career paths. C3 does, and we are sharing that knowledge with C3 Accredited Employers, free of charge!
In closing, some numbers that illustrate C3’s growing success and influence within the commercial construction industry in the Houston region since its inception:
If you and your company have not yet engaged with C3, contact us. Just as we are helping other construction companies, we can help yours too. Getting involved with C3 could prove to be one of the wisest business decisions you have ever made.
Key C3 Contacts
Associate Director – People Development, Compliance and Operations
As the 2018-2019 school year closes and we watch the first wave of craft workers hired from a C3 Career Fair enter the workforce as they move beyond graduation, I am reminded how life is full of milestones and moments that mark our progress. These milestones are important. They mark the significant achievements along our path.
C3, with its mission of creating a safe, skilled and sustainable craft workforce, has reached some major milestones and has a few more on the horizon. Twenty C3 projects have been successfully completed. Twenty more are under construction, or about to begin, with several more in the pipeline. We are closing in on 400 participating construction companies. June will mark a milestone with 50 construction companies that have earned a valuable C3 Craft Training Endorsement, a number that we expect to reach 100 by year end and well before C3 reaches its 10-year anniversary in 2020. These are some great milestones because together we are doing great things.
Milestones also serve to remind us the C3 mission isn’t yet complete. “Even after implementing training and raising the bottom line (through return on training investment), we still get value from C3. We are not finished. We’re still growing.”, remarks Art Canales, President, Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing. Art is right. We are not finished, and we are still growing, but there is still much more work to do.
You might be wondering what is next for C3. We are rapidly deploying to meet the need of a rising population of companies seeking to create new and better training programs for craft professionals. We are partnering with schools, community-based organizations and local and state workforce boards to educate potential skilled workers on the benefits of a career as a craft professional in commercial construction. We are leveraging C3 programs and creating new ones to change the perception of construction as a sustainable career choice to provide a quality lifestyle for craft professionals and their families.
C3 is growing and chances are your business is as well. Join us on this next chapter of C3’s journey. Engage with us to create stronger on-the-job competency-based training programs. Share our complimentary safety programs with your workforce and peers. Play golf with us at our annual tournament in October. Partner with like-minded companies to educate students and parents about the myriad of opportunities a career in the skilled trades offers. Join us as we move forward to elevate the playing field and create a sustainable craft workforce driven to be the safest and most skilled for Houston’s future. We are changing the commercial construction industry.
Construction Industry Institute (CII)
Construction Users Roundtable (CURT)
National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)