Our Next Generation Construction Workers?

Last night, the Greater Portland Construction Partnership (GPCP) sponsored a thought-provoking dialogue at their quarterly meeting. A lot of folks outside the world of construction may not recognize the age gap present in this workforce, with many over 50 and fewer new entries in their twenties. We appreciate the good work of GPCP, always the proactive safety advocate,  to bring together so many important partners and leaders to address critical industry topics.

Sitting on the panel, which was nicely facilitated by Skanska’s Mel Jones, included Connie Ashbrook, Executive Director of Oregon Tradeswomen (OTI). CROET best knows OTI as the sponsor of the highly successful Women in Trades Career Fair, but we are well aware of their fine work promoting women into the trades through their pre-apprenticeship and Building Girls programs, and other leadership activities.

Pat Daniels represented Constructing Hope as an enthusiastic and knowledgeable advocate for this newer apprenticeship program, recognized as a “last chance” program for both those previously incarcerated along with others who may feel they have no career pathway.

Dennis Boyd, Executive Director of the Sheet Metal Institute shared his support for pre-apprenticeship programs, the importance of diversity in the workforce and the critical need to get young people introduced to trades at an earlier age.

Finally, Drew Park of Columbia Wire & Iron Works and representing the Portland Workforce Alliance rounded out the evening with continued conversation about improving and supporting work to better introduce younger people into construction and the trades, including an invitation to participate in the widely attended Northwest Youth Career Expo.

Thanks again to GPCP, and its supporters, for another informative evening. Make sure and visit the GPCP website for more information about this and other programs. And continue to create and support efforts to encourage young people to stay plugged in and introduced to pathways for all work, including the trades and construction.

Other Resources:
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About the Author

Dede supports the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences and the Oregon Healthy WorkForce Center's research, engagement and education programs. She is a certified industrial hygienist.

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