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A Cure For The Skilled Craftworker Shortage: How THRIVE Could Rescue The Industry

For countless graduates walking the stage this month, their diploma will represent a tangible achievement that marks a major change in their lives. It’s the end of that portion of their educational career, and they can begin a new stage – in higher education, a career, or a calling.

For 10 women in TDIndustries’ Tradeswomen Program, their graduation certificates represent their hard work and symbolize their future opportunity within the construction industry. On May 10, Partners and contributors to the TDIndustries’ Tradeswomen Program met in Houston to celebrate the new Partners’ development.

For 12 weeks, these participants have learned how to install sheet metal systems, maintain healthy finances, and learn leadership skills. The first three weeks focused on classroom education, with the final nine involving hands-on training. With help from a variety of sources, they’re now successful Partners working alongside veteran Partners at a Houston-area jobsite.

“These women are the ones who took the lead,” said Randee Herrin, Houston Senior Vice President of New Construction. “I’m proud of their accomplishments, I admire their fierceness, and I’m humbled that they chose to become TDPartners.”


A group effort to make dream reality: The origin of TD’s involvement came during a brainstorming session for ideas to find or train newly skilled craftworkers.

“We were always going to operate in a deficit so long as we were only recruiting 50 percent of the population. Although we knew that we wanted to recruit women into the construction industry, we were not sure where to find them,” said Randee Herrin, Houston Senior Vice President of New Construction.

After reading an article about the United Way THRIVE, Randee reached out to them to see if they could assist with TDIndustries’ Tradeswomen program.


The THRIVE program had most of the connections already formed to bring together several essential organizations to make this program work:

  • Workforce Solutions offered a database of motivated women who were seeking employment. This group assisted in finding and screening applicants, so TD truly received the best applicants possible, Randee said. Without their assistance, TD would not have found these 10 women.
  • Harris County Department of Education offered 80 hours of in-office training on core curriculum, power tools, and NCCER training.
  • SER (Service Employment Redevelopment) provided additional workforce readiness training on topics such as first impressions, recognizing personality traits, career pathing, and working with others to make these 10 women some of the best-trained in the field.
  • The Women’s Resource provided 12 weeks of financial training, and certified two TDPartners to teach the course. Thrive participants spent one half-day a week learning about personal budgeting, credit, insurance, and investment planning.
  • The Houston-Galveston Area Council helped guide the program, providing advice and identifying what resources were available, including grants that helped TD offset the cost of training.

With the help of each of these organizations, TD’s Tradeswomen pilot program was an astounding success. TD hopes the lessons learned from this pilot will help in future recruiting and similar programs and that adding more women to the workforce will provide a greater diversity of thought and leadership in the years to come.

While TD has completed this phase of the Tradeswomen Program, it is committed to providing outstanding opportunities for women and men alike. To learn more, contact us here.

Categories: Women in Construction