Successfully Competing for New Talent with Other Industries

Bryant Black

Director, Workforce Development
Greater Houston Partnership

​As anyone in commercial construction will attest, the industry has a labor shortage and a perception problem.  The combination of those issues has led to an unsustainable craft workforce. Demand for skilled craft workers is greater than people looking for jobs. Baby Boomers are retiring, and the millennial generation has not been attracted to careers in the craft trades to fill the available jobs. Construction Career Collaborative (C3) was established to address this issue.

C3’s primary goal of creating a skilled and sustainable craft workforce can only be accomplished by construction employers successfully competing for talent with other industries, something the industry has struggled to do in the last 30+ years.  C3 is working with companies in the commercial construction industry to attract young people into a career in the craft trades.  These employers must demonstrate to the new applicants in the 18-24 year-old range that they can provide new craft professionals with a career path that enables them to earn a comfortable living and provides them the opportunity to fulfill their “personal dream.”

How do we interest someone coming out of high school in a career in the craft trades?  First, construction employers must do what other industries do: Treat their craft workers as valued assets – as employees, not as independent subcontractors.  This is a foundational assumption.

Second, construction employers must provide their employees with safety and on-going craft training that will enable them to work safely and skillfully. This training, along with on-the-job work experience will lead to sustainable craft workers who will build better quality buildings.

Third, the construction industry must change its perception from “dirty, dangerous and dead-end” to a career where they can be “sustainable, successful and safe”.  When we offer our construction applicants the opportunity to grow and thrive in their chosen craft, the construction industry can win in the war for talent.

If you agree with me, join forces with C3 and let’s solve this problem together!

Chuck Gremillion
Executive Director

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