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There are many challenges in the construction industry, but one of the largest is the availability of craft-worker manpower.

Perhaps the essence of construction’s problem lies in that one word: manpower. By definition, half of the potential workforce is removed from consideration. With women only comprising 9 percent of the total craft-worker workforce, construction companies could see a huge boost in their recruitment efforts by targeting female candidates.

TDIndustries hopes to accomplish just that. If a new THRIVE partnership with the United Way of Greater Houston becomes a successful onboarding tool, then TD can increase its access to talented craft workers while simultaneously improving its diversity of ideas.

“When brainstorming solutions in 2016, we had a shift in mindset: We were always going to operate in a deficit so long as we were only recruiting 50 percent of the population,” said Randee Herrin, Senior Vice President of Houston New Construction. “We realized that if we shifted our focus to the training and development of women, we could create a pipeline of talent that could lead us out of deficit and into abundance.”

In late 2016, Herrin was sent an article highlighting a similar program between the United Way of Greater Houston and S&B Engineers and Constructors in which S&B hired and trained 20 women as pipefitters. Herrin then reached out to THRIVE and discovered their mission to help families build stronger financial futures by acquiring skills and education, obtaining better jobs, developing good financial habits, and building a savings plan.

It was a perfect fit for TD.

TD partnered with United Way THRIVE and its community partners in September to develop a plan to assist with recruiting, hiring, and training of 10 tradeswomen. A few months later, Workforce Solutions, on behalf of TD, contacted approximately 2,500 female job seekers for an opportunity to work as sheet metal and pipefitter helpers. TD selected 10 women to become full-time TDPartners.

Three weeks later, the new Partners started the first day of their 12-week training program. The program was developed with the assistance of the following THRIVE partner groups: The Women’s Resource (TWR), Service Employment Redevelopment (SER), and the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE). The women received OSHA 10, personal financial training, and workforce readiness training before moving on to hands-on training from the foremen. 

Upon completion of this program, the new tradeswomen will begin full-time work with TD. They will also celebrate with family and friends at a graduation ceremony in the Houston office on May 10.

“We are so proud of this initiative and are honored to be working with these amazing organizations,” Herrin said. “With their help, we will be able to provide women access to a career with benefits and an abundance of opportunity for growth.”