C3 Educational Partnerships and Talent Pipelines

Bryant Black

Director, Workforce Development
Greater Houston Partnership

I love school.  Those closest to me might even say it is one of my favorite places.  Schools are full of potential, dreams, and hope for the future. They are alive with possibility. They represent the pipeline of future workforce applicants.  They are our supply chain.

Fortunately, my position at Construction Career Collaborative (C3) affords me plenty of exposure to the future of our workforce.  C3 currently partners with local school districts, community colleges and technical schools. Each partnership is geared at helping them to build a pipeline designed to meet the need of commercial construction.  As you can imagine, each of these partners are asking for guidance.

  • What does the workforce of the future need to be successful in commercial construction?
  • What skills are the most desired? Most critical? Needed to even get an interview?
  • How can we connect students to industry?
  • What companies are interested in partnering to create stronger workforce pipelines?

Investing in a workforce pipeline is a long-term strategy. It will not fix crew shortages in the short-term, but it works to counteract the on-going struggles of an aging workforce and lack of interest in pursuing the trades as a viable career option.  This investment is critical for the sustainability of our industry.

The partnerships with local school districts and community colleges allow us to create pathways that train our prospective workforce before they arrive at our job sites. Creative programs that offer pre-apprenticeship or earn and learn programs benefit from pairing state and federal workforce dollars with training programs to put the employer at the advantage. Enabling employers to clearly identify employability and technical skills before entering the hiring process produces stronger recruiting and sets up companies to succeed at retention by placing higher quality, skilled, entry-level candidates into internal craft training programs and career paths.

Currently C3 serves on the advisory board of seven school districts.  It takes a lot of time and effort to coordinate with each district, and there are more seeking our input every year. We have become a highly sought expert voice on commercial construction workforce needs.  But we do not want to do this alone.  We want you and your company to help drive the workforce of tomorrow.

We are excited to announce our newest volunteer committee, the C3 Educational Advisory Committee.  This committee will focus on enriching our current partnerships and pursuing other key opportunities with school districts, community colleges and trade schools.  We are actively seeking members to volunteer on this committee and serve as the voice of industry for our local training partners.  If you are interested, please contact me at 713.999.1032 or [email protected].  Our first meeting will be in August, so don’t delay.


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