Workforce Updates & Opportunities

Aimee Bertrand Featured, Workforce Development, Young Professionals

The first half of 2022 has been an active one for furthering our goals for increasing the residential construction workforce in our community. Here are a few highlights of the work that has been put toward ensuring more individuals in our region are exposed to and have opportunities to prepare for careers in residential construction.

GHBA’s Workforce Committee met early in the year to be trained on a presentation that can be used in teaching students about the homebuilding process and opportunities to work in our industry. The full presentation is available at www.ghba.org/careers-in-construction/

In recent months the Greater Houston Builders Association met with Spring Branch ISD and Houston ISD to discuss their current CTE (Career and Technical Education) offerings and how they can be promoted/encourage residential construction careers. We also met with the University of Houston’s Real Estate Center on our previous partnerships with them and how we might be able to reengage on future programs for their students!


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Spring Branch ISD will be hosting an education fair this fall to help promote CTE programs among their students and their families. The idea is to expose the students to curriculum paths which include architecture, engineering and introduction to construction classes. They would also like to expand students’ horizons on the kinds of careers they can expect by starting training in those areas. Our Professional Women in Building Council plans to host a table on behalf of GHBA with an interactive project for attendees to complete.

HomeAid WORKS has six students under mentorship who just completed their WorkTexas classes. We look forward to helping share some of their stories and successes in entering our workforce.

HomeAid WORKS graduates with Mattress Mack (left) and Davina Cunningham, HomeAid America (right)

The Home Builders Institute’s Houston BuildStrong Academy is opening its doors to new students. They anticipate ramping up to serve several hundred students each year in education on residential construction safety, carpentry, and associated topics. We anticipate that our September GHBA board of directors meeting will be held out at the facility and will look for opportunities over the next few months to have each of our councils and committees (first among them – this committee) visit the program for a tour. GHBA President Jennifer Keller also spoke on a panel of Workforce Champions at the recent NAHB meetings in Washington, D.C. regarding our excitement for and plans to support the academy. More information on the BuildStrong Academy can be found at hbi.org/buildstrong-houston/

We are working to increase the number of institutions in our community that utilize HBI’s curriculum. This curriculum focuses on safety, carpentry, electrical and other areas of study, with residential construction at the forefront of its offerings. Houston Community College, WorkTexas (Mattress Mack’s Construction and Technical Education training academy at Gallery Furniture), and Habitat for Humanity already utilize HBI curriculum. San Jacinto College is working to implement the HBI curriculum at its campuses, as well.

WorkTexas is in the process of opening its second location at a facility that they are leasing from Harris County in Bellaire. GHBA volunteers helped prepare the facility with cleaning and a new coat of paint, alongside many other active community volunteers.

About a dozen students from Texas A&M’s development program and UH Real Estate Center attended GHBA’s Mid-Year Forecast Luncheon, thanks to the generosity of several member companies who set aside seats for them! GHBA President Jennifer Keller worked to match those students with potential employers, based on the students’ fields of study and her knowledge of employer needs.

A group of our collegiate students will be attending the Texas Bash later this month. Please keep an eye out for them and make them feel welcome as future members of our industry.

Opportunities to get involved:

Are you interested in helping teach and mentor students in our community? If so, please reach out to me at abertrand@ghba.org. We have had several inquiries from community college and high school programs, seeking potential instructors. Each program’s requirements are a little different, but you don’t have to be a trained educator to qualify!

Summer Creek High School in Humble ISD needs someone to oversee the plumbing installation for their Tiny Homes for Big Heroes program for Operation Finally Home. They need someone who can guide the students and teachers, but not actually do the work. If you have the right resource for them to reach out to, please contact James Gaylord at james.gaylord@humbleisd.net or 281-641-5438. They are also in search of a house mover who can move their not-so-tiny homes to Liberty County for the veterans’ supportive services community supported by OFH. This request is for someone who can move one home on an annual basis. The current home is 17’ by 25’.

San Jacinto College needs to meet with industry partners to discuss the viability of a for-credit plumbing program on their campus. They need plumbing company representatives’ input on this process. If you have a recommendation, please contact Durrell Dickens, department chair of industrial technology at SJC, at durrell.dickens@sjcd.edu.

If you have any questions on any of the above projects and how you can get involved, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Workforce Committee Chair Ron Rohrbacher at rrohrbacher@comcast.net or me at abertrand@ghba.org. Please feel free to share these updates with others in the industry who might wish to fill needs or employment opportunities.

About the Author
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Aimee Bertrand

Executive Vice President & CEO of the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA)