Need help finding a job in Houston, Texas
July 12, 2008 10:17 PM   Subscribe

My brother-in-law is having a very hard time finding a job in Houston, Texas. Any ideas or job leads?

He's in his late-30's and his work experience includes a lumber
company (inside sales and office manager) and Legend Homes (as a
construction superintendent). I know this is a stretch, but does
anyone have any job leads in this area? The job wouldn't have to be
in the home building industry, just anything that pays in the
high-40's that would be appropriate for someone with his skill set (no
college degree but a good amount of job experience in home building,
maintenance, a hard worker, smart guy, etc.). If you don't
necessarily have any good job leads, can anyone suggest some places to look for jobs? We obviously know about all of the usual suspects
(Craigslist, Monster, etc.), but maybe there are some other places we
are over-looking. He's been on 6-7 interviews and had no luck so far.

Also, he and his family (four kids and a wife) are having to dip into
their 401k to pay the bills. What kind of government help can they
get? They have already applied for and been denied unemployment
(because he quit his last job to go looking for a new one, vs. waiting
to be laid off which he knew was coming).

Any help would be very much appreciated.
posted by JPowers to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Tell 'em to pack up and move north. Houston sucks for jobs right now, but if you look in the College Station/Bryan area there should be some decent home-building jobs. The entire economy's slow, but in my area at least it's growing. If he does get up to my area, send me a MeFi mail and I can do a small local mail-blast... I have several friends who either own or are married to/dating the owner of landscaping and construction companies, and they're all busy. Pretty much anything *but* Houston right now is great in Texas, and after DFW and Austin, Houston is the most expensive place to live in the state and is currently seeing the most layoffs as various transportation, energy, and finance companies rejuggle their staffs. High expenses and no job opportunities mean that he can either pack up the wife and kids, or just move up here by himself and rent a room from someone during the week, then take the money home.

If they have no income, then they should qualify for food stamps and other temporary assistance programs. A good way to find out what they qualify for is to use the 2-1-1 service.
posted by SpecialK at 11:13 PM on July 12, 2008

I disagree with SpecialK. I'm finding the job market to be very, very good right now, but I'm in the Energy industry. I don't know much about construction, but here are my thoughts.

Some of the engineering/oil field equipment companies have fabrication plants, where they make "mock-ups" before full manufacturing. Can he do something like this? MH-Pyramid (part of Aker) comes to mind: 28377 Fm 529 Rd -- for a very long time, and maybe even now, they had a sign on the road advertising jobs because they really needed a lot of workers.

There's a lot of construction of commercial buildings in the Energy Corridor (that's I-10 West, roughly at Dairy Ashford but really between Kirkwood and Highway 6). Could he stop by some of these worksites and check for work? I know Technip is expanding from having multiple buildings to having one campus: 11700 I-10 West. Halliburton is also moving to that area.

Also with commercial construction, many of the hospitals are opening branches in the Cinco Ranch area (that is I-10 West between Fry Road and Grand Parkway). Cinco Ranch itself (a planned residential community) is expanding. See the north side of I-10 West between Mason Road and Grand Parkway.

Has he tried the Greater Houston Builders Association?

A last thought is that he could apply for the management track at either Lowes or Home Depot.
posted by Houstonian at 4:03 AM on July 13, 2008

Per the Chronicle, Houston has more job growth than Dallas. The article is the first I found in a quick search, and it's from March of this year. I recall reading more recent ones which indicate that employment is still growing here, albeit more slowly.

Home construction is also slower than last year, but in my area, western Pearland, there is massive commercial construction. CBL is working on a new "town center" development and there are other commercial developers building shopping centers and apartments right and left. The Waterlights District (the development with the Presidents' heads) is supposed to start construction later this month. Perhaps a shift from residential to commercial work might be possible.
posted by Robert Angelo at 7:43 AM on July 13, 2008

Is he cold calling or e-mailing? I've always found that way more effective than replying to ads, especially ads on the big sites. But I'm not in his industry.
posted by Airhen at 8:15 AM on July 13, 2008

There is a huge growth in commercial construction jobs in Houston. Walk on to a job site and ask to speak with the foreman.

Also, Home Depot or Lowes may be a place to have a job. A home depot account manager makes 54,000 in Houston, apparently.
posted by Pants! at 10:49 AM on July 13, 2008

first thing you should know about are the job-board-aggregator sites. it will make your job searching life easier. is a good one.

also, consider going through agencies/recruiters. it costs you nothing, and the recruiter working on your behalf may already have a relationship with the company. i was going through a similar problem - looking for work, little to zero response, burning through 401k savings to get by, etc. i finally went to a temp agency (volt) and said "these are my skills, i would like to do this or that, but, really, i just need to make some money i will do anything" and the nice lady got me an interview which turned into a very good full-time position in my field.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 3:54 PM on July 13, 2008

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