Cornerstone - Winter 2015 - (Page 10)

The nation's first business-led, community-wide, integrated effort to increase the "middle skills" workforce. BY: Peter Beard, Senior Vice President of Regional Workforce Development, Greater Houston Partnership Laura Bellows, President and Chairman of the Board, W. S. Bellows Construction Corp. Steve Mechler, President, Balfour Beatty Construction, Houston Division THE HOuSTON rEGION HAS ExPErIENCED TrEMENDOuS growth over the past decade. As of November 2014, the region recovered all jobs lost during the recession and added an additional 200,000 jobs. Business leaders and employers in some of Houston's key industry sectors warn that a severe and persistent shortage of skilled, qualified workers threatens the region's success and competitiveness. A number of factors are contributing to Houston's skills gap: the region continues to expand economically, the baby boom generation continues to age and retire, the diversity of our workforce will only continue to increase, and there are misperceptions and lack of awareness about the skilled jobs in these industries. In June 2014, the Greater Houston Partnership launched UpSkill Houston to tackle the region's skills gap challenge in a comprehensive way. The initiative is a collective approach focused on increasing the number of qualified and skilled workers in the key industry sectors that drive Houston's economy: energy, healthcare, construction, manufacturing, transportation and utilities. It seeks to significantly increase the number of Houstonians who are interested in, trained for, and placed into critical technical skilled jobs and professions which require some post-high school training or certificate, but less than a four-year college degree. We are proud to be a part of the nation's first business-led, community-wide, integrated workforce effort. Houston's construction industry continues to experience workforce challenges driven in part by the $60 to $80 billion capital expansion of our region's petrochemical plants and refineries, ongoing investments in commercial and institutional construction projects and expected retirements of our skilled craft professionals. According to the Gulf Coast Workforce Board, the Gulf Coast Region's construction industry can expect continued growth (see the table for current and projected employment levels over the next 10 years): 10 Beard Bellows Mechler 2012 2022 Increase % growth Nonresidential Building Construction 38,420 48,460 10,040 26.1% Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction 45,650 60,190 14,540 31.9% Specialty Trade Contractors 89,530 114,460 24,930 27.8% Six of the top 20 frontline construction occupations are currently on the Gulf Coast Workforce Board's list of targeted high-skill high-growth occupations: * Electricians * Plumbers, Pipefitters & Steamfitters * Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers * Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers * Cost Estimators * Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics To strengthen our industry and the region's economic future, we must begin working together and collectively address the skills gap. Failure to do so will result in a more severe shortage of skilled craft professionals, who are the lifeblood of any construction project. Predicting and Planning UpSkill Houston is currently supporting and facilitating a business-led collaboration to collectively address the skill's gap plaguing the construction industry. This collaborative effort is being led in partnership with Balfour Beatty Construction, W. S. Bellows Construction Corp., Jacobs, Marek Brothers Systems, Inc., and S&B Engineers and Constructors. Many of our industry Cornerstone

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Cornerstone - Winter 2015

From the Chairman of the Board, Bill Scott, III
Meet Your New Board of Directors
Upskill Houston: The nation’s first business-led, community-wide, integrated effort to increase the “middle skills” workforce.
Berger Iron Works Receives AIA Houston Artisan of the Year Design Award
Great Apes Return to Houston: W. S. Bellows Construction Corp. takes on a unique journey to create the Houston Zoo’s African Gorilla Forest
Target Budget Design: Providing Value with Cost Certainty
Past Events
Member News
Index of Advertisers/

Cornerstone - Winter 2015