#BuildEP Aims to Strengthen El Paso’s Construction Industry

Job Hiring and Training Connects Area Contractors, Subcontractors to Workers

EL PASO, Texas – Sundt Construction Inc. and The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, Texas (HACEP) have partnered to host #BuildEP, El Paso’s inaugural construction job training and hiring fair on Saturday, August 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sherman Plaza Community, located at 4531 Blanco Avenue in South-Central El Paso.

#BuildEP is an opportunity for dedicated and willing job seekers in the El Paso area to connect with construction professionals for employment, certification and training, and job growth. The fair will include on-the-spot hiring, training sessions and certifications.

The Associated General Contractors of America reports that while construction industry has added jobs at an elevated rate, contractors – almost universally – report difficulty in filling positions with qualified personnel.

“El Paso’s construction industry has grown at a healthy pace, but contractors and subcontractors struggle connecting with qualified applicants,” said Joseph Riccillo, district director for Sundt in El Paso. “Build EP is the largest networking event in El Paso that’s purely centered on the construction industry.”

More than 25 contractors and subcontractors were on site, offering employment opportunities, interviews and information to job seekers.

Anna Maria Farías, the Assistant Secretary of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), served as keynote speaker during the speaking ceremony of the fair. Assistant Secretary Farías was in El Paso as part of a weekend tour of HACEP’s revitalization initiative.

“We’ve been observing with great excitement HACEP’s work,” said Farías. “Not only with its revitalization efforts of its housing stock, but with its efforts supporting Section 3 workers in El Paso.”

Section 3, a HUD-led program, requires that companies who are awarded contracts to HUD-assisted agencies provide training, employment, and other economic opportunities to low-income persons.

For HACEP officials, which is in the midst of its own construction boom through its Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) initiative, partnering with Sundt to host the event fills a mission larger than simply filling open vacancies.

“A strong workforce is the spine of any company and the bedrock of our community,” said HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon. “Connecting El Pasoans with employers in one of our communities helps businesses grow while assisting dedicated and hard-working individuals earn a life of self-sufficiency.”

According to the Associated General Contractors of America, construction wages and salaries in 2017 totaled $427 billion in the United States, including $45 billion in Texas.

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Anna Maria Farías currently serves as the Assistant Secretary, Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). From 2001-2008, Ms. Farías worked at HUD, serving as Senior Counsel to former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Initiatives, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grant Programs (CDBG) and Director for the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. From 1992-1993, Farías was a Member of the Wage Appeals Board and Board of Service Contract Appeals at the Department of Labor. Earlier in her career she worked under Secretary of Education William J Bennett from 1985-1988. From 1980-1985, Farías was an Attorney, Office of General Counsel, Merit Systems Protection Board. And from 1989-1992, she was Counsel to a Member of the National Labor Relations Board. Ms. Farías received a B.A. with honors from Boston University, a law degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, where she was the 3rd year class president, and was a Fellow for State and local officials at the Harvard University JFK School of Government. Ms. Farías grew up in the Crystal City Housing Projects, and from 1993-2000 returned home as the Executive Director of the Housing Authority and became one of the first Executive Directors in the country that agreed to live in the housing developments during her tenure. Under her leadership, the Housing Authority received over a dozen awards from the National Association of Redevelopment and Housing Officials (NARHO), including several Section 3 for putting housing residents to work in different construction programs. In recognition of her leadership, Ms. Farías was inducted into the Texas Woman’s Hall of Fame in 2000.

Sundt Construction, Inc. (www.sundt.com) is one of the country’s largest and most respected general contractors. The 128-year-old firm specializes in building, industrial, transportation and concrete work and is known for its commitment to quality and innovative approach to construction services. Sundt has 11 offices throughout Texas, Arizona, California and Utah and is 100 percent owned by its approximately 2,000 employees. Sundt currently is ranked the 65th largest construction company in the United States by ENR, the industry’s principal trade magazine. The company is consistently ranked among the Best Places to Work by business publications in multiple cities and it was named the nation’s safest construction company by the Associated General Contractors of America twice in a decade – an honor no other contractor can claim. Sundt’s charitable arm, the Sundt Foundation, recently crossed the $8.6 million mark in donations made to hundreds of nonprofit organizations across the country. 

The Housing Authority of the City El Paso, TX (HACEP), the 14th largest Zero, fossil fuel free, LEED Platinum affordable housing community in the U.S., HACEP provides high-quality housing assistance to over 40,000 low-income El Pasoans through its Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, Tax Credit, Non-Subsidized and Section 8 New Construction programs.

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