Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

L&I doing the home show circuit

Friday, January 24th, 2014

The Department of Labor & Industries will have a booth at 18 home shows this winter/spring throughout the state to inform homeowners about hiring the right construction contractors.

L&I says home show attendees in search of a contractor should arrive with a plan that includes:

• Know what you want. Whether planning to update your bathroom or build a fence, write a list of the features you must have versus the features you’d like to have. Bring magazine pictures of desired features.
• Talk to a variety of vendors and contractors. Bring a list of questions about your project and ask contractors about their experience.
• Confirm prospective contractors are registered with the state at www.ProtectMyHome.net. Registered contractors must have a business license and a current certificate of liability insurance and a bond on file with L&I, providing some recourse if the project goes bad. Just because contractors have a booth doesn’t mean they’re registered.

The first event, the Tacoma Home & Garden Show, is running until Sunday inside the Tacoma Dome. Admission is $12.

Learn what local architects think

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

The DJC surveyed several local architecture and engineering firms for its A&E Perspectives special section. Contractors can learn about upcoming projects, trends and other relevant issues by reading about the designers’ insights.

Check it out!

Contractors finally embrace high-tech

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

The old adage is that contractors are slow to adapt to new technology. That may have held true in the past, but go to any job site now and you’re likely to see iPads and other mobile devices hard at work.

Just how these devices speed productivity is the subject of two articles in the DJC’s Construction & Equipment special section. In one article, Skanska discusses how it’s moving toward a paperless job site. In the second, Howard S. Wright profiles its high-tech “Big Room” that is outfitted with various high-tech devices to streamline collaboration and communication between all of the project team members.

Even with all those high-tech gizmos in the Big Room, HSW still designed in a glass wall for posting sticky notes.

Skanska helps with ASC competition

Friday, March 1st, 2013

 

A team led by local Skanska employees pitched in again this year in the Associated Schools of Construction Student Competition in Nevada.

The employees developed a problem statement on sustainable building and LEED that 11 student teams answered with written proposals and oral presentations.

The winning teams and their prize money were: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (first place, $1,500); California State University, Fresno (second place, $1,000); and the University of Washington (third place, $500). Arizona State University won $500 for best presentation.

Skanska’s group consists of 12 employees from Washington, Oregon and California. It collaborates from October to February to develop a problem statement. This is the eighth year the employees have helped out.

Pictured on the UW student team are: (back row, left to right) Matt Watson, Kevin Marck, Eddie Baker and professor John Schaufelberger; (front row) Melody Lian, Michael Abbate and Ben Leventer.

Skanska holding world’s largest workplace safety initiative

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012


Skanska is in the midst of its eighth annual Safety Week, which it bills as the world’s largest workplace safety initiative. That means all of Skanska’s 53,000 employees around the world, including its 9,400 U.S. employees, are putting an extra focus on workplace safety and wellness. Subcontractors, suppliers and business partners are also included.

The program has thousands of activities held at Skanska jobsites and offices that educate employees on how to better avoid workplace risks and evade injuries. Examples are rescue techniques and fire training, flex routines, health and first-aid training, and ladder safety.
Speaking of ladder safety, Skanska is hosting a ladder safety presentation at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday at its UW Medical Center jobsite. Doug Wing from Little Giant Ladders will give a demonstration.

Skanska has developed some best practices for ladder safety:
• Always inspect the ladder prior to use.
• Choose the right ladder for the job based on if you are working at low, medium or high heights.
• Move slowly and deliberately while on a ladder. Over-reaching or leaning can lead to a loss of balance.
• Most importantly, always maintain three points of contact while ascending and descending a ladder. The user should keep either two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand on the ladder at all times.

Over the past six years, Skanska’s lost-time accident rate for employees has been reduced by 50 percent. By 2015, the company aims to eliminate three out of four lost-time accidents.

More information on Safety Week 2012 can be found at www.skanska.com/safetyweek. It runs until Sunday.

School construction profiled in special section

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

The DJC’s special section on School Construction has hit the streets. It contains articles on how districts can save money by using factory-built schools and by embracing technology. It also covers where the design of future learning spaces is going. Enjoy!

Helmets to Hardhats Links Vets with Construction

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Today’s DJC includes a fine article by Sam Bennett regarding the construction industry’s concerns regarding a recent Department of Labor proposal that contractors who do federal work follow a new system for hiring disabled workers and veterans.  That article is here.

As a follow up, I want to make sure everyone is aware of Helmets to Hardhats, a national, web-based program that connects National Guard, Reserve and transitioning active-duty military members with quality career training and employment opportunities within the construction trades. The program, created a decade ago, is administered by the Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment and Veterans Employment, a non-profit 501(c)(3) joint labor-management committee.

Employers are required to participate in “proven apprenticeship training programs that are registered and approved by applicable federal and state authorities.” However, it is not limited to union training programs and employers.

The Construction Industry Training Council (CITC) of Washington, which is an approved H2H training program that AGC of Washington, ABC and others sponsor, runs an open-shop registered apprenticeship program with more than 400 apprentices in several craft programs.

According to its website, “H2H encourages all responsible employers who have construction-related career opportunities to apply for acceptance into our program.” Employers must meet certain criteria including: “access to a quality and federally-recognized registered apprentice program, a permanent system to ensure employment and training opportunities, formal curriculum and instructor training programs, related training and an on-the-job training program, an affirmative action program, and a positive record of caring for the welfare of workers as evidenced by health insurance, pension benefits and workers’ compensation coverage.”

Helmets to Hardhats was created because the industry knows that the nation’s veterans can serve as a good pool of potential construction craftworkers, but also understands that making the connections with the nation’s veterans as they leave service can be difficult.

 

Go green with DJC’s Green Building special

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Learn how a LEED platinum house was put together, when a green retrofit makes sense and what is going on with living buildings. Those topics and more are covered in the DJC’s 2012 Building Green special section. Don’t miss it!

Lewis shows STEM students the ropes

Friday, November 18th, 2011

STEM club members recently visited Lease Crutcher Lewis’ Sixth and Lenora construction site.

Lease Crutcher Lewis is teaming with biology teacher Lee Ann Love on a pilot program for the student STEM club at Tacoma’s Lincoln High School. The program consists of six weekly modules that revolve around construction and engineering elements of Lewis’ renovation of Lincoln High that was finished in 2007.
Lewis engineers are working with the STEM students on real-world problems where math and engineering are used. The program helps students understand the complexity of systems and the interrelationship of all engineering disciplines. It focuses on structural, mechanical and electrical systems and how Building Information Modeling can help resolve conflicts before construction starts.
Company president Gary Smith is leading Lewis’ pilot program.
CEO Bill Lewis stepped up to personally pledge $125,000 to the Washington STEM program, where he serves on the board of directors. Washington STEM is a nonprofit promoting science, technology, engineering and math education.
Another $125,000 was pledged by the company and employees to various charities in honor of the company’s 125th anniversary.
Way to go Lewis team!

Sunshine on your kids’ economic horizons?

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Kathleen recently wrote about how the economy is looking up, at least in the near term.

That may be good news for workers with a few years of experience under their belts, but how does that bode for today’s high-school kids, who face high unemployment, more competition to get into college and skyrocketing tuition if they get there?

The solution may be found in career fields such as construction, utilities, manufacturing and transportation, where some are forecasting a shortage of skilled workers in the coming years. The problem is vocational education has been stripped from most public schools, so kids may not be aware of all of their options.

Fortunately, local industry has stepped up to fill some of that gap with Pierce County Career Day, which will be held Wednesday at the Western Washington Fair Grounds in Puyallup. Now in its fourth year, the program has interactive exhibits that show students which technical skills are needed for trades such as construction. Kids also learn about internships, apprenticeships and training resources.

Dozens of local companies, unions, training programs and municipalities have stepped up to support the event. Some familiar names include the Washington Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Team, Tacoma Power, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Clover Park Technical College, IBEW Local 76, AGC of Washington, Workforce Central, Pierce County, and the Washington State Building & Construction Trades.

More than 1,500 students are expected at this week’s event. For more information, check out Pierce County Construction Partnership’s website: www.buildingyourcareer.com.