Beyond the Build

Team Building

Workforce Development

It seems that every board meeting I attend these days has “workforce development” as a topic on the agenda. In most areas, the economy is humming in high gear, and record low unemployment is a driver for sure. Beyond this, to “lift all boats” is just the right thing to do. Training usually includes learning the basics of an industry or craft, and I would also add personal finance be taught at the high school level. Many coming out of high school do not understand the relationship between “save first, spend later” and living within your means.

In the past, we have tried teaching young people the industry, and I’ll be the first to admit that for several reason, we have not always had success. Next week, we try again with a new intern, but this time with The Birmingham Education Foundation as our coach. “Ed,” as it’s called for short, has matched us with a city high school student, and we are keeping our fingers crossed for success. Our intern will be with us through June, and our intent will be to start another one in the fall. Hopefully our experience will be mutually beneficial. There is potential for lots of wins.

As a side note, “Ed” is led by my friend JW Carpenter, and if you do not have an “Ed” equivalent in your city or town, you might reach out to him for advice, as he is a seasoned pro in this arena. Who knows–You may find yourself with an outstanding long-term employee.


Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.