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From the category archives: Chairman's Message

Chairman's Message

Chairman's Message - October 2020

All of you are well aware of the presidential election coming up on November 3rd. But I bet that a far smaller number know that October is Careers in Construction Month. The confluence of these two events provides a reminder of just how big a role construction plays in the national economy.In recent years, the focus in our industry has been on trying to find enough qualified employees to meet booming demand. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has paused that narrative, it hasn’t stopped it. Over time, demand for construction talent is still expected to outpace the supply.ABC continues to do its part to address this issue. Last year alone, ABC members nationally invested more than $1.5 billion to provide over 1.1 million course attendees with craft, leadership and safety training. At $1,100 per employee, safety education accounted for nearly half of member companies’ total workforce investment.Our chapter’s education and training efforts continue despite the disruption caused by the pandemic. Thanks to the ...

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Chairman's Message September 2020

A lot of attention has been focused on how education will take place this fall. Classes will be online at ABC’s Gould Construction Institute, but GCI has used the summer to maximize the effectiveness of virtual schooling.All instructors have received training on how to transition from in-person to virtual classes, as well as how to use the Zoom platform. To keep virtual classes manageable for instructors, class size has been capped at 20 students. If there is additional demand, we will create another virtual class. GCI team members have been taking part in the virtual orientations with the students and instructors and will continue to monitor the progress of the classes.When it comes to hours missed last spring due to COVID, any student who was unable to complete their hours will have an opportunity to take free make-up classes this year. They can double up on classes and go four nights a week by registering for a class at a different location on opposite nights. For trades that allow it, we are offering onli ...

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August 2020 Chairman's Message

The way we in the construction industry think of “safety” has certainly expanded in recent months. It used to be that safety meant ensuring that all our employees made it home to their families every night. Then came COVID, and a whole new set of precautions to keep our people healthy and our industry functioning with it.A recent heatwave reminds us that we must also take steps to protect employees from exposure to the sun and heat while abiding by COVID-19 health guidelines. The fact that it’s hot this time of year is not exactly front-page news, but it’s too easy to forget to take the necessary precautions in the midst of focusing on the many steps we’re already taking to keep the Coronavirus at bay.The first step is to encourage employees to wear the right clothing. Cotton soaks up sweat and stays wet longer, which keeps heat from penetrating the body. Loose-fitting garments are preferable since they maximize the breathability and airflow that help cool the skin and body.It’s also a good idea to wear opaqu ...

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July Chairman's Message

COVID-19 has been a public health and economic disaster, causing over 8,000 deaths in Massachusetts alone and resulting in unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression. But at the Gould Construction Institute (GCI), reacting quickly to the challenges posed by the pandemic has quickened the pace of efforts to update GCI’s offerings and make it more responsive to the needs of member companies and their employees who train with Gould.When COVID-19 hit in March, GCI quickly transitioned to online classes to allow students to complete the necessary hours for the spring semester. To make the switch, we held orientations to train instructors on how to use Zoom.With so many employees laid off or furloughed, GCI teamed with Penn Foster to offer construction-related courses to provide training to those employees and keep them engaged. Most educational offerings will be delivered remotely when the school year begins this fall, and the Gould is no exception. To maximize the quality of our curriculum, we’re u ...

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Chairman's Message -- June 2020

As construction projects reopen across Massachusetts, I’d like to take a moment to highlight some of the work our member companies have done to help their employees and communities during the pandemic.Groom Construction in Salem teamed up with Root, an organization that prepares young people to enter the workforce through intensive culinary and food service training, to provide over 400 free meals to agencies serving the homeless, youth in foster care and individuals with disabilities, among others. The meals were hand delivered to organizations all over the North Shore.In a statement, Lifebridge North Shore noted that they had been able “to provide meals to hundreds of vulnerable members of our community because of the partnership between Groom Construction and Root. To see this kind of generosity and thoughtfulness during these times is both touching and inspirational.”The Haynes Group of West Bridgewater supported the Red Cross’ blood drive efforts though its #HaynesGroupCares initiative. The company al ...

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March Chairman's Message

As the construction industry grows, it becomes more complex and nuanced. While construction is the tie that binds all of ABC together, members have a vast array of talents and interests. ABC committees provide an outlet for those members to grow in their areas of interests while simultaneously contributing to our chapter.For years, the greatest challenge for our organization and the construction industry as a whole has been finding qualified talent to meet the demands of a growing industry. One of the ways ABC develops programs to address this need is through our Human Resources Committee, where HR professionals and other personnel decision makers exchange ideas about both attracting employees to construction and retaining those workers.And we don’t just focus on the present. A vibrant Future Leaders Council engages member company employees who are under 40 to both strengthen the organization and create a pipeline of young talent for member companies.In a state like Massachusetts, ensuring that open shop ...

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February Chairman's Message

Much has changed for the Massachusetts construction industry over the past decade, and I’m happy to report that most of the change has been for the better.The latest and one of the most important examples came in January when the Baker-Polito administration announced its Career Technical Initiative, which will train an additional 20,000 skilled trade workers over the next four years and help close the skills gap, which has become the top priority for both ABC and the construction industry as a whole.The initiative calls for vocational-technical schools to operate three teaching shifts per day. Vocational students will take classes from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, students from area high schools will take classes from 2:00 to 5:00 pm, and 5:00 to 9:00 pm will be reserved for training adults. Among other things, the initiative will:• Provide adults with assistance to pay for their training• Boost business involvement in program development and credentials• Reduce licensure barriers to provide incentives for mid-career ...

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Chairman's Message -- January 2020

I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as ABC chairman for 2020. The new decade is a time of opportunity and challenge for our industry, and I take heart in the fact that we have so many talented and dedicated individuals devoting time and energy to ABC and the Gould Construction Institute (GCI), our training affiliate. I’m also fortunate to be the beneficiary of all the progress made in the past year under Karl Hudson’s leadership. We all owe Karl a debt of gratitude for a job well done. In 2019, membership was up for the seventh consecutive year and we're closing in on our goal of 500 members. In addition to an overall 9 percent increase in members, we had a retention rate of at least 90 percent for the sixth consecutive year. We all appreciate and benefit from the efforts of Membership Director Ken Ledwak. Building Mass Careers has become an increasingly effective tool for providing member companies with much-needed talent.  We've established a resume bank, and orga ...

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Chairman's Message September 2019: Supporting our Growing Construction Workforce with Woburn High School

For ABC member companies to continue to thrive, we must take a hard look at our talent pipeline. With an aging workforce that in some cases is not suited to keep up with exponential growth of the construction industry, we need to identify young people at the start of their career and expose them to the many opportunities our member companies can offer. As we well know, the construction industry is about relationships, and a good case in point is the one ABC MA has been developing with Woburn Memorial High School. Our Building Mass Careers team has made multiple presentations to various students about construction. We held an industry roundtable, bringing in five ABC member firms to discuss trends in their sectors of the industry and their specific company hiring practices. Building Mass Careers hosted a three-day OSHA-10 Construction Outreach Safety and Health course attended by 18 students who received their OSHA 10 card. We are currently working to establish a job shadow and externship program in conjuncti ...

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Chairman's Message August 2019: What's Happening at Gould Construction Institute - Your ABC Member-Focused School

The middle of summer isn’t usually a time when we think a lot about school, but as the construction industry becomes ever more sophisticated, education and training can never be far from our minds.  Whether it’s tradespeople or office employees, our workers need to stay up to date with new technologies and other evolving processes. ABC’s Gould Construction Institute (GCI) can be just the resource you need to keep your employees on the cutting edge.  The Gould offers construction training to educate current workers and develop the next generation of trained craftspeople.  To get a sense of some of the benefits GCI can provide for your company, I urge you to go online and check their training calendar to see what’s coming up. Training promotes excellence.  You may not have known that our chapter produced the best pipefitter in the country for 2019.  Fresh off DECCO employee Sean O’Dowd’s first-place finish at the National ABC Craft Competition, ...

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