Construction is on the rise in Texas. According to the Associated General Contractors of American (AGC), three Texas metro areas – Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth – rank in the top ten areas that added construction jobs in the last year. Houston ranked number one with Dallas, Irving, Plano ranking number 7. While the construction has been primarily single-family homes, in North Texas there is still numerous multi-family buildings being constructed, as well as more offices and industrial buildings, showing solid growth in the commercial arena.
According to IHS Global Insight economist, Steven Frable, construction will continue to be the main drive of job growth across the country. In fact, he anticipates double-digit gains in most states.
In other good news, Frederick Treyz, chief economist of Regional Economic Models Inc. in Amherst, MA, believes the construction growth “has legs.” He and his team estimate that Dallas County will create about 3,000 construction jobs related to housing a year through 2020. Obviously the increase in commercial construction will only add to that figure.
Often with good news comes a challenge. In this case, it is the shortage of workers, in particular good craft workers and project managers. According to a recent survey by ACG, 74% of construction firms across the U.S. report they are struggling to find qualified craft workers to fill key spots. The expectation of the respondents is that the labor shortage will only get worse, and that steps should be taken to address the shortage now, including immigration and education reform.
Don’t Wait for Reform
“When you place quality at the center of everything you do, it only makes sense to step up and take charge of the education and training your organization provides your team,” said KPOST CEO Keith Post. “Frankly, rather than waiting on government reform, we took the approach that the growth of our employees is our responsibility. That is why we chose to implement an apprenticeship program.”
Apprenticeship programs conjure images of times gone by, where young men stood side-by-side with their mentor, learning a trade such as blacksmithing. However, apprenticeship programs make good sense for many construction jobs, such as electricians, plumbers, and yes, even commercial roofing experts.
“There are no training facilities for roofers, Lightweight Insulating Concrete (LWIC), or architectural sheet in the DFW Metroplex” said Steve Little President and Head Coach. “The Midwest Roofing Contractor Association (MRCA) and the National Roofing Contractor Association (NRCA) are both developing training programs specifically for the roofing contractor”. Locally Construction Education Foundation (CEF) provides MEP and generic construction skills training but nothing for roofers”. Today there are many apprenticeship programs available through government agencies such as the Department of Labor, or the Texas Workforce Commission. However, KPOST saw the need to develop a program that was specific to their needs and the needs of their customers.
“Our crews are extensively trained in their area of specialization. The level of training and infusing of our value-culture could only be accomplished through an apprenticeship. The commitment to training has led KPOST in achieving top tier status with nearly every major material manufacturer while routinely meeting or exceeding the manufacturer’s inspection requirements,” said Vice President of Operations Brent McFarlin. “This only happens when you dedicate energy in developing your team to be and perform at their best.”
KPOST specializes in commercial roofing systems, waterproofing, and lightweight insulating concrete deck installations. Roofing installations of this caliber require dedication and focus, particularly to meet the high standards KPOST delivers.
“When you choose to be a quality sub-contractor, you take on responsibilities for all aspects of your organization, particularly the growth, education, and safety of your team,” said Post. “It’s the only way to ensure your culture is maintained at the highest levels.”