7 Things to Know About IIJA

Our team took the opportunity to highlight nearly all of the areas that the construction industry either should be focused on or are already getting a head-start on elevating these areas within their organizations and how SkillSmart’s technology platform, InSight, can help your firm with all of it.

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WH 347’s What Data is Needed and How SkillSmart Can Help You Collect It

Correctly Submitted WH 347’s – What Data is Needed?

And Here’s How SkillSmart Can Help Your Firm Collect It.

Incorrectly reporting certified payroll leads to serious consequences from the IRS. But many companies completing a WH347 form are misidentifying staff without even knowing it.

Because of confusion identifying W2 employees versus 1099 independent contractors, some companies are mistakenly submitting incorrect information – opening them up to fees and other serious consequencesIncorrect WH-347 Form – often because the data with their organization’s system is not being collected or organized correctly.

W2 Employee vs 1099 Contractor

Let’s look at the difference between a W2 employee and a 1099 contractor, as classified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Most employees in the U.S. work for a single company full or part-time and are what is known as a W2 worker or contracted employee. They get the security of consistent employment (even if it is temporary) and access to the equipment and training necessary to perform the job, but the company gets to dictate almost all the remaining terms of the arrangement, including when, where, and how the work is accomplished. As a result, these employees are given a W2 tax form at the end of each year. The employer has to pay employer taxes and withholds the employee taxes and remits to the government on behalf of the worker. Employees also get certain protections that we’ll discuss in the next section.

If you’ve ever wondered what a 1099 position means, it’s simply the classification of a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee. An independent contractor operates as an unincorporated, individually owned business, and in many ways, these workers can be viewed as the opposite of a W2 employee. They are responsible for paying their own taxes, both at filing time and quarterly throughout the year, and holding a 1099 position means they aren’t entitled to receive any of the traditional benefits that accompany full-time employment, such as retirement plans and health insurance. There are many different types of independent contractors, but a few examples include independent owner/operators for trucking, drywall finishers, painters, flooring installers and many finish trades where manpower is at a premium.

The classification of workers is one that organizations are legally required to report to the IRS, but one that can trip up companies, based on the data they have gathered for the year.

Reporting Classifications on the WH347

The deductions recorded on the WH347 form include FICA, federal with-holding tax, state with-holding tax, medicare – all of which are not deductions for 1099 contractors.

The payroll form is also required to be signed on the last page stating the organization is correctly reporting their employees and hours paid for the last 12 months. On this final page is the area where organizations can provide an explanation for areas that were checked “other” or not filled in. This is where organizations often clarify that there are “1099 workers” listed on the form.Time Savings Infographic

And this is where SkillSmart can help.

SkillSmart InSight is the ONLY comprehensive construction solution for labor and business compliance tracking. Manage one or many projects through a centralized, secure portal. Track your hours, payroll, contractor wages rates, construction data, MBE participation, supplier tracking and more. InSight is also the only software on the market that offers organizations the ability to track both W2 and 1099 contractor data, collectively or broken out, for name, address, hours worked, gender, and ethnicity.

What does this mean for your Workforce Inclusion Reporting?

For the administrators collecting the data, needed to submit a WH 347 so your organization can be paid, eliminating duplicate data entry and ensuring the right data is aggregated is invaluable. Utilizing InSight, organizations have one entry point for both W2 data, collected through payroll, and 1099 data, submitted by subcontractors. By having two collection areas within the system, InSight can automatically generate the WH 347 for your team, as well as the 1099 report to accompany that, in turn giving the government entities all the information they need, in a legal and precise format.

With this accurate and aggregated data, your firm can confidently sign and submit the required forms for payment without the consequence of your business being prosecuted for falsification of documents or wrongful reporting.

The data collected goes beyond the benefits of the correct submission of WH347 forms. InSight provides organizations the ability to create 1099 portal within InSight-01custom reports for review, analysis, and QA/QC for your team. Our team works hand in hand with your in-house experts to identify which reports will be helpful and when. For some, monthly or quarterly reports on hours worked and project status, for others, weekly reporting on payroll to proactively identify non-compliance on wage rates.

SkillSmart can help you achieve all of this.

For more information on SkillSmart or to set up a demo with our team, click here.

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The $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill – What the Construction Industry Needs to Know

The $1.2T infrastructure bill marks one of the most significant investments in the country’s infrastructure since Congress responded to the Great Recession.

The bill, signed into law on Monday, November 15, will send billions of dollars to states and local jurisdictions, over the next five years. More than $110 billion will be directed to replace and repair roads, bridges, and highways, and $66 billion to boost rail, making it the most substantial such investment in the country’s passenger and commercial network since the creation of Amtrak. In addition, lawmakers provided $55 billion to improve the nation’s water supply and replace lead pipes, $60 billion to modernize the power grid and expand broadband and other public works projects.

This means the biggest impacts of this bill will be felt by those in the construction industry and the communities where the resources will be spent.  Some reports are estimating that this could create 1 million jobs over the course of five years.

Clearly, this is an incredible opportunity for those contractors who typically bid on projects with public-funding, and given the scale, this represents a new market for those firms who haven’t.  So, what does that mean for the industry’s that will be charged with putting this money to work?


Here’s What We Know

The ability to demonstrate the economic impact of this funding and the specific individual projects is going to be paramount for both the funders and the contractors.  There is a continuation of the existing disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program to address race and gender discrimination in surface transportation related business.  Funded projects must have at least  10 percent of the work provided to small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.  Additionally, there are requirements to ensure prompt payments to DBE contractors.  Finally, projects receiving any funds must ensure they are paying prevailing wages to those workers on the project.

To ensure that the funds are both building the infrastructure, as well as having the desired economic impact across the country, it will be important for projects to capture information about business participation, labor demographics, and prevailing wages in order to demonstrate these positive benefits.


Three Things to Consider (and how SkillSmart can Help)

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. The key to ensuring full access to the benefits of this bill is data tracking and reporting. This shouldn’t sound new, as it is a refrain that projects owners, both public and private, have been saying for some time, but the demands of the Infrastructure Bill are absolutely amplifying the importance of data collection, monitoring, and reporting to ensure equitable and inclusive projects.

This is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. Here are three things to consider before this funding starts flowing into your project pursuit pipeline:

  1. The requirements outlined in the law can be straightforward and inexpensive to track so don’t let it keep your company from bidding on this new work.
  2. It’s a simple and straightforward process to track, manage and report on the key elements contained within the law and meet any reporting requirements that may arise.
  3. The ability to proactively demonstrate the economic benefits of a project can provide you a competitive advantage when bidding on new work.

SkillSmart will be digging into this bill over the next few months, providing a deeper dive into:

  • Specific construction sectors where funding is being allocated.
  • Where our team is currently supporting contractors and owners on projects like the ones anticipated within the infrastructure bill.
  • How technology will play a key role in executing these projects into the future.

If you are interested in discussing any of the information above or how SkillSmart can support your team with tracking, managing, and reporting your project data, please contact Joshua Lowery (jlowery@skillsmart.us).

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Inaugural #ConstructionInclusionWeek Educates Construction Industry on how to Enhance and Improve Inclusion Efforts

The inaugural Construction Inclusion Week was held October 18-21, 2021. Organized by Time for Change, a construction industry collaboration dedicated to identifying ways to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the construction industry, Construction Inclusion Week provided five days of content and resources designed to promote inclusion and enable thoughtful conversations regarding diversity within the construction industry. Construction Inclusion Week also pushed the construction industry to create stronger relationships with the communities in which we build.

SkillSmart, along with more than 1,000 other construction industry firms participated in the inaugural event, including specialty contractors, vendors, suppliers, and affiliated industry associations. Our team found the daily topics and discussions around them to be significantly important. We also held internal discussions to talk with our team about their viewpoints and suggestions surrounding inclusion, equity, and diversity. These conversations were not only though provoking, but also generated some ideas on enhancing and improving inclusion efforts.  

Although not surprised, it was encouraging to hear many of the speakers suggesting that firms continue to look at, and build upon, the data that companies have to move efforts forward for diversity, inclusion, and equity. Whether that is data from recruitment, workforce development, subcontractor and vendor partnerships, mentoring, or even demographics from the communities the construction industry is building in, it is valuable for these important discussions.

We are thankful to be a part of the inaugural Construction Inclusion Week and all that participated by engaging in the conversations, sharing experiences, challenging the procedures currently in place, asking questions, and all that came into this week with an open mind, willing to be educated on these important topics.

Thank you to Mortenson, DPR Construction, Gilbane Building Company, Turner Construction Company, McCarthy Building Companies, Clark Construction Group, ABC of America, and AGC of America for creating Time for Change to identify ways to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in construction. SkillSmart was proud to participate in the inaugural campaign and are planning to continue these conversations throughout the year with our team and our clients.

Throughout our social media posts for #ConstructionInclusionWeek we shared several links for videos and blog posts. To access any of those resources, please visit the links below.


CIW Week Recap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu2zCsGstZo

Construction Inclusion Week 2021: https://www.constructioninclusionweek.com/

Milwaukee Bucks Retain Jobless Workers to Build New Arena: https://bit.ly/3j68PYz

Unconscious Bias at Work – Making the Unconscious Conscious: https://lnkd.in/ePxnZ3c

SkillSmart Sample Report: https://lnkd.in/edzZqNw

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Mature man construction worker at the construction site in the c

New York Likely To Make Changes to Contractor Liability: How to Keep Your Team in Compliance

The state of New York is on the cusp of being the sixth state, joining California, Nevada, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia, to put a wage theft law into effect exposing General Contractors and subcontractors to significantly greater lability than before. The General Contractor Liability for Unpaid Wages Act (NY Senate Bill 2766), passed by New York State Senate and State Assembly in early June, shifts liability to GCs for wage theft cases on private construction projects.

What does this mean?

General Contractors are directly liable for unpaid wages owed to a worker by any subcontractor on any level of the project. The General Contractor could be liable for up to three years after a project has been completed, even if the wage theft was conducted by a subcontractor tiers down, unbeknownst to the GC. However, the General Contractor, under NY Senate Bill 2766, “may withhold payment to a subcontractor or lower-tier subcontractor for failure to provide certain payroll records.”

One potential consequence of this law could be the delay of payments by the General Contractors to subcontractors to allow time to confirm appropriate wage payments. Thus, it will be in the subcontractors’ best interest to be able to affirm appropriate wage payment in order to ensure timely payment of its award amount.

How can we help?

SkillSmart understands the intricacies of tracking data, as well as how to report on it efficiently. That’s why we’re the only solution that provides complete visibility throughout all of your project tiers. Not only that, Insight offers proactive notifications on potential wage rate issues, missing data, and more.
Utilized by owners and General Contractors across the country, SkillSmart InSight allows all project tiers to enter their employee and payroll information to ensure accurate notification of wage data. Utilizing a proactive notifications system and reporting on the underlying data and potential non-compliance. InSight provides unmatched visibility down the project tier – allowing identifications of issues in real-time for every subcontractor on the job.
InSight can be accessed from anywhere – job site, office, on the road, and is a secure location to store company, employee, contract, and business data, for one or multiple projects. InSight is the only comprehensive construction solution for labor, MWDBE participation, and business compliance tracking. Whether your projects have state, federal, local, or internal goals that your organization is committed to achieving, InSight gives you the real-time data to ensure your project meets every requirement.
General Contractors that could be liable under the New York law should deploy InSight, as it will give real-time confirmation that each subcontractor, at any tier, is paying the appropriate wage for salaried and 1099 workers. Without a tool like this, a GC will be forced to withhold subcontractor payment and take on the expense of retaining records, for up to three years, if an employee at any tier would bring a claim for unpaid wages.
To learn more about how InSight can help you simplify your project team’s compliance efforts and track goals to meet every owner’s expectations, request a personalized demo today.


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SkillSmart Announces Integration with Autodesk Construction Cloud

Beginning today, SkillSmart’s Insight construction compliance tracking and reporting platform will integrate BIM 360®, a construction management software part of Autodesk Construction Cloud™.

This seamless integration enables joint customers to stay informed about on-site construction progress and make critical project management decisions with real-time data, including diversity and inclusion data points. With the simple addition of a Partner Card to BIM 360’s Project Home dashboard, customers can view InSight’s regularly updated workforce, vendor, and key performance metric data directly on their project management home-base.

InSight’s best-in-class collection, monitoring and reporting technology empowers users to collect critical data – such as labor hours, payroll, diverse and local workforce utilization, contractor wages rates, MBE participation, and supplier tracking – and track the insights and stories needed to remain competitive. By adding the SkillSmart InSight Partner Card to BIM 360, project teams can reduce their administrative work, improve project management decision making, and enhance communication with their clients and stakeholders.

“We are excited to partner with Autodesk Construction Cloud to address one of the most significant challenges facing the construction and infrastructure industry today,” said Jason Green, Co-Founder of SkillSmart. “We believe for the industry to remain relevant and grow, it must demonstrate its impact on local communities. This integration allows joint customers to receive key real-time data on critical metrics to meet specific compliance requirements, and also to set goals, measure progress and demonstrate the economic impact of projects.”

“Construction teams today collect a wealth of data in their digital solutions,” said James Cook, head of integrations at Autodesk Construction Solutions. “By leveraging that data to make informed decisions, teams can yield significantly more productivity. With the addition of the InSight Partner Card, our customers can monitor SkillSmart’s compliance & reporting information alongside the critical building data in BIM 360 for a holistic view of their projects.”

Customers can simply add the SkillSmart Partner Card to their BIM 360 Project Home dashboard by following these steps.

SkillSmart, with its comprehensive solution, is helping project owners, developers, and general contractors across the country collect, monitor, and report data in a new way to move beyond just compliance.  Businesses and the people who employ them are the cornerstones of healthy communities. Skillsmart’s InSight platform is the new platform for compliance tracking of subcontractors, data reports to local governments, and employee tracking during construction projects to ensure local and diverse resources participate in economic development.

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SkillSmart Launches Comprehensive Construction Platform for Workforce and Business Compliance

InSight®, SkillSmart’s second major technology offering, allows projects of any size to dynamically capture and report on all workforce and business data in a single product – reducing costs, increasing reliability and improving outcomes.

SkillSmart, a growing software-as-a-service (SaaS) construction tech company, has introduced InSight®, an innovative platform that employs a dynamic, scalable, cloud-based solution for capturing both workforce and business data for construction and government projects. This is the first product on the market that allows general contractors and developers to capture workforce and business data on the same platform – reducing the cost of multiple platforms, removing time consuming duplication of data entry and increasing the reliability of the data.

The ability to capture all workforce and business data is critical to the compliance process. To date projects have had to rely on acquiring multiple software products and increasing labor costs to keep up – often creating unreliable data sets that impact project outcomes and reporting requirements resulting in fines and project delays.

Insight provides a scalable solution with a single, intuitive user interface and dashboards to track subcontractors and projects, regardless of size or scale. Further, InSight is customizable to adapt to different requirements in a market. In particular, new reports can be generated quickly to meet the reporting requirements of any project in days instead of weeks and months.

“We know that Owners, Developers and General Contractors want to demonstrate the positive economic impact their projects have on the communities in which they are working,” said Mike Knapp, CEO and co-founder of SkillSmart, “but current software products don’t allow for that to happen in real time and in a reliable manner. It is imperative to obtain data directly, quickly and accurately to use that data to better manage critical outcomes of the project.”

InSight is already being used on more than 20 projects nationally and by 7 of the top 20 ENR Top 400 Construction firms, including three of the largest economic development projects in the U.S.



About SkillSmart
SkillSmart is a growing technology company that is transforming the markets in which we work by creating tools and services to build strong communities and clear paths to economic success. We support an array of projects, including some of the most significant economic development and construction projects in the U.S. with Fortune 500 clients. Our nimble technology can be easily deployed on projects in any community to identify, track and report vital information. It provides the data that allows communities and projects to improve outcomes and achieve their objectives. We have built a team with decades of experience working with projects and communities across the country. Together we have the experience and resources to help communities break new ground and reach new heights.
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Hudson Yards Powers New Neighborhood with First-of-its-Kind Hiring Initiative

Public-Private Partnership Already Responsible for Hundreds of Job Placements with Hundreds More Expected in the Coming Months

Hudson Yards announced details about the creation of the Hudson Yards Hiring Network, an innovative public-private collaboration designed to identify and recruit talent from New York’s most in-need populations. The initiative has already placed hundreds of New Yorkers in new jobs and expects hundreds of more jobs to be filled over the next few months. Companies and buildings in Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group’s 28-acre development will bring more than 55,000 jobs to the west side neighborhood, and developers, along with their public partners will continue to recruit applicants from The New York City Housing Authority, as well as veterans, formerly incarcerated and homeless individuals, and people with disabilities.


Jay Kriegel, Senior Advisor of Related, who joined Fred Knapp, Executive Director of Hudson Yards Manager, to bring this network to fruition, praised the unprecedented partnership, “We are grateful to our 22 public and private partners for joining us in the initiative, the Hudson Yards Hiring Network. Together, we have developed a customized screening system for all job applicants which instantly matches them to available jobs. We are especially grateful to SBS/Workforce1, which is providing a single intake and screening for all job applicants; to SEIU 32BJ, which will provide most of these new workers with high quality benefits, training, support services and representation; and to our private sector partners, SkillSmart, Canon, G4S, ThinkFood Group and Guardian.”

Hudson Yards estimates that, over the next six months, upwards of 600 new jobs will be filled to provide essential services at the development, plus hundreds of additional jobs at restaurants and other campus businesses. Recruits from the hiring network, referred by the 22 agencies participating in the Hiring Network, are being given priority in filling these new jobs, most of whom will be represented by SEIU 32BJ, one of the City’s leading unions.

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Overcoming the Challenges of Maryland’s General Contractor Liability for Unpaid Wages Act

Last year, Maryland’s General Contractor Liability for Unpaid Wages Act took effect providing an employee with the right to sue both their employer and the general contractor for the job on which they’re working for up to three times the wages owed to the employee, plus attorneys’ fees and costs. Perhaps even more significant is that this new law permits an employee to take such action as early as 2 weeks after the date on which the wage in question was to have been paid.

Failure to comply with Maryland’s prevailing wage and hour laws now exposes general contractors and subcontractors to significantly greater liability than before.

Now, more than ever, it is vitally important for both GCs and Subs to have the ability to track, validate and report, in real time, that each employee working on a project is being paid the appropriate wage.

Email and Excel spreadsheets are no longer sufficient. They do not provide the timely safeguards you need to preserve project margins from unnecessary risk and litigation.

At SkillSmart, we understand the difficulty in tracking the data necessary to prove compliance with this new law. We also recognize the need for a simple and cost-effective solution.

Working with contractors on large and small projects across the country,  we developed the InSight platform to allow subcontractors to submit their own payroll information and, in one-click, see if there are any compliance issues that require follow-up, and the audit trail to back it up. This provides everyone working on a job with a single, secure location to input employee and payroll data, ensuring data is being provided at the source and all parties are working on the same page.

SkillSmart InSight helps you focus on the project at hand by providing a simple, cost-effective solution to help you better manage potential liabilities in real-time and making it easier to stay compliant.

Learn more about how InSight can help you simplify your compliance efforts.

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To Survive a Digital Future, Guide Employees to Own Their Learning

Learning in the digital future

First published by HR Dive, December 04, 2018. 

The market will leave behind those who think continuous learning is anything but a necessity, various experts say.

In elementary school, students are told what they need to learn. In high school, they receive some choices with electives. In college, students take full ownership of their learning and choose the path to their career. In today’s continuously changing work landscape, employees need to retake ownership of learning to advance (or even retain) their careers — and employers have to enable them.

The market will leave behind those who think continuous learning is an option rather than a necessity. For businesses that don’t stress the need for upskilling, and employees who don’t heed that warning, current projections show that almost every type of job could be replaced by the digital revolution. Getting employees to take ownership of their own learning and growth is critical to future-proof them and their employers.

The growing gap
A recent survey by Udemy, the 2018 Skills Gap Report, outlines the problem. Of over 1,000 workers, 84% said they believe there is a skills gap and 39% report to feeling its effects. In turn, workers are beginning to make demands; 51% said they would quit a job that didn’t provide needed training. Udemy’s head of L&D, Shelley Osborne told HR Dive that the challenge for business is not just giving workers a reason not to leave — they have to give them a reason to stay.

“People are more motivated to upskill on their own when there are learning opportunities that fit in their own time and at their own pace,” Osborne said in an email. Today’s learning tech supports can help provide a flexible, low-pressure environment. She recommended organizations integrate online courses into their L&D to create these opportunities for staff.

“When employees, particularly the millennial and Gen Z cohorts, better understand potential career pathways and the necessary steps for advancement, they can take more ownership for their learning,” Mike Knapp, CEO and co-founder of SkillSmart, told HR Dive in an email. He said he believes employers should take a more skills-based approach to talent development, with transparency that allows employers to better clarify the skills for each job type, as well as make opportunities for learning and development more accessible. Clarifying what is needed keeps employers and staff from wasting time and resources that won’t provide the skills needed to advance.

Employees want a return on their investment; when training makes their job easier, or puts advancement closer in reach, they’re motivated to own their continuous learning. Learning that isn’t demonstrably relevant can discourage and demotivate, wasting time and stifling growth.

Prioritizing learning
Businesses that stress the need for upskilling will need to walk the walk and the talk the talk. Companies must not only determine what skills are needed but also provide time and space. Osborne said she believes businesses should regard learning as part of their employees’ regular workload, the same way they expect people to be able to balance meetings, off-sites, and other team activities with individual responsibilities and deliverables.

“No one knows better than employees themselves what skills they need to learn right now in order to do their jobs better,” she said, “and they should be given free rein to pursue those topics.”

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