Even as oil prices continue in an unpredictable turn, city leaders in Houston are soldiering on with bold new initiatives aimed for the future of Southeast Texas. In particular with the Houston Airport System, they are aiming high.
On what Mayor Annise Parker called “a great day for the City of Houston”, a new partnership was announced that plans to not only improve air and space travel, but also create a pathway to job training skills for area workers. Spearheaded by Council Member Jerry Davis, the project’s initial goal will be training workers to build the new Terminal at IAH. Here is more information via City of Houston press release…
HOUSTON – The Houston Airport System (HAS) is taking a major step forward in enhancing the levels of both safety and efficiency surrounding the various construction projects taking place at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) and Ellington Airport (EFD). A new training center is set to be built at an existing IAH warehouse, designed to enhance the skillset of various employees working on HAS-designated construction projects.
“Continuing education and training are important in just about every professional field but it’s especially vital in the area of construction,” says Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “This new training center will help to ensure that our vital airport facilities are growing in a manner that’s both safe and efficient.”
Under the plan approved by Houston City council members on January 28, 2015, the Houston Area Construction Education Collaborative (HACEC) creates a mutually beneficial partnership between the Houston Airport System and the following institutions of higher learning: Houston Community College (HCC), San Jacinto College and the Lone Star College System.
After constructing the education training center, to be located along Lee Road at IAH, all employees working on HAS-designated construction projects will be required to attend a mandatory training class where OSHA and Houston Airport System safety and security guidelines and requirements are laid out in a detailed fashion. Contractor employees will be given a sense of what it’s like to work in a dynamic airport environment. The center will also be available to those same employees as they look to upgrade their craft skills by receiving training in various construction-related fields.
“It is in the best interest of the Houston Airport System to have a well-educated, highly qualified workforce spearheading our various construction projects,” says Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz. “Whether that person is employed by HAS or a private sector company, they need to have a solid grasp on the skills that are needed to perform their job and that skillset needs to be constantly evolving.”
With a 200,000 student population among the three community colleges, the specialty workforce training center is likely to have an expert pool of talent to choose from. But as was hinted in the press conference, the facility’s usefulness could go much further than a couple of major airport projects. With rapid growth throughout Southeast Texas, this center has the potential to train many new construction workers that would start and the airport system, and take their skills and expertise to other area projects.
“Across the community, we have been discussing the fact the Houston has a booming economy even with lower oil prices.” said Mayor Parker. “There’s a lot of new construction going on, yet we have a gap in the workforce. Contractors are literally cannibalizing each other to get their projects done. At the same time, we have lots of folks across the community who are under-employed or unemployed, and would be perfect to fill in the gap.”
Long a voice for some of Houston’s most under-served communities, Council Member Davis seemed to sum it up best… “We talk about economic development. This is people development.” Programs like this one will hopefully serve to build a bridge for the abundance of young, under-employed workers out there looking for opportunities. If you have an interest in construction work, go and sign up at Houston Community College, San Jacinto College or Lone Star College. The city of Houston is ready to do some ‘people development’.
Per the Mayor, the center is expected to come online this year.
Check out the Mayor’s comments below…