Worksystems Receives $1M for Construction Training

March 18th, 2022

We are excited to announce that Congresswoman Bonamici secured $1M for Worksystems to train 80-100 historically underrepresented Washington County residents in construction!

In the Portland Metro Area, the public capital projects pipeline shows an unprecedented building schedule. The five-year projections of green lighted large projects are over $7.5 Billion in construction work for the region, and this does not include any new projects that may come from a new federal Infrastructure Bill. This economic activity is an incredible opportunity for the region to direct efforts that will result in tangible and meaningful lifelong careers for local women and people of color. Now is the time to look at addressing the ongoing barriers to full employment for marginalized jobseekers at the regional level with a coordinated investment approach that supports economic self-sufficiency for Oregonians.

This $1M investment will contribute to a myriad of tangible and critical community benefits:

  • An increased labor pool that is sorely needed to truly address the future building schedule in the region
  • An assurance that a sufficient supply of labor will stabilize labor costs and project schedules
  • An expansion of the community network into Washington County to more deeply serve the region
  • A clear mechanism to connect women and people of color to training and support services that result in placements into family supporting construction careers.

Data show that pre-apprenticeship training is the best investment to ensure a pipeline of women and people of color enter apprenticeship and into the construction trades. Because of historic and current practices, these populations are not sufficiently represented in the current industry makeup, so these programs take an intentional approach to develop improved career pathways and are a critical player in ensuring workforce diversity outcomes on construction projects. Pre-Apprenticeship Training will be delivered to Washington County residents by PATP project partners.

Project partners include Oregon Tradeswomen, Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, Portland Youth Builders, and Washington County WorkSource Centers

The specific strategy, which has proven successful both in Portland on past projects and elsewhere, is to invest in pre-apprenticeship workforce training and apprenticeship support services for women and people of color. These investments ensure a level of qualified workers into the regional pipeline, as well as an increased level of retention for onsite diverse apprentices.

Lastly, this investment will specifically support an increased focus on construction apprenticeship opportunities in the regional WorkSource centers, ensuring that local jobseekers looking for job search resources are effectively connected to those opportunities. In Washington County, Portland Community College partners with Oregon Employment Department, DHS and other public workforce programs to staff the two WorkSource Centers (American Job Centers) located in the County. The Centers serve nearly 10,500 jobseekers every year and work with numerous community-based nonprofit organizations, culturally-specific and geographically based, to connect residents in their communities to training and employment services at WorkSource. As a result of these partnerships, WorkSource functions as a vehicle for outreach to the populations targeted in this grant and a source of information about construction careers and training opportunities. A deeper connection to the public workforce system will link a proven earn-as-you-learn job placement structure, and further advance implementing the guidance around WIOA and Registered Apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship at the local level.

Thank you Congresswoman Bonamici for your support of workforce training in our region!