Developing effective integration between American supervisors and Hispanic craft workers in construction
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Hispanics are a large and growing part of the United States workforce. The U.S. Census Bureau showed Hispanics as the nation's largest ethnic or racial minority group in 2000. In addition, Hispanics are projected to make up 25% of the population of the United States by 2050. This has created several challenges for American construction companies.;This study addresses the situation by investigating training needs for Hispanic construction craft workers as well as American supervisors in the State of Iowa and developing four construction-focused training courses that can be part of an effective training program to facilitate integration among them. The research methodology consisted of assessing the needs and interests of the participants, developing and delivering the training courses, and finally evaluating the ESL course effectiveness. Two independent surveys were conducted in order to evaluate current craft workers' and American supervisors' needs and interests at the jobsite. The results confirm that communication, mainly because of the language barrier, is the main concern for both the Hispanic workers and the English-speaking employees involved in construction projects. As a consequence, American supervisors communicate through a "Link-person". This fact makes them extremely dependant on this person. The training courses were designed to help both American construction companies and their Hispanic labor force overcome the barriers that keep them from integrating into a work team and succeeding safely and productively. The English/Spanish as a Second Language Survival Course was developed to facilitate basic communication between Hispanic workers and their American supervisors using construction-focused terminology. The training course Stepping Up to Supervisor (SUTS) for Hispanic Construction Workers was developed to provide an effective tool to help companies promote Hispanic craft workers whose willingness and skills meet the requirements to advance to a supervisory position in an American construction company. Concrete Pavements: Construction basics is a course best suited for concrete road contractors. It is a helpful tool to train American supervisors to overcome the communication barrier with their Hispanic workers.;Feedback from a follow-up evaluation of the construction focused ESL course strongly suggests that the course has been useful in terms of increased confidence and improved ability to communicate.