Despite many efforts to date, construction remains an industry that lacks diverse workers entering into the trades and/or low completion rates. This has resulted in an industry that continues to struggle with diversifying its workforce. Data and stakeholder input clearly show that the construction workforce is not representative of the community and although numerous attempts have been made over several decades to diversify the workforce, there has been little to no lasting effect.

CAWS is a membership organization managed by Worksystems and created by the construction industry and its stakeholders to support, inform and advocate for a systemic approach to producing a diverse and skilled workforce. Members include owners, developers, contractors, unions, subcontractors and community organizations – all dedicated to diversifying the trades.

Faced with an aging workforce, construction industry leaders hope to build a workforce that is more representative of the community while insuring that new workers are available to fill current and future openings. In addition, more projects are including diverse contracting and hiring goals so the need for a comprehensive approach is clear.

To date, over 500 people of color and women have received training in the construction trades and 1,000 more will be trained in the next 2 years.

Through its partnership with Worksystems over the past 8 years, $700,000 in membership dues has been leveraged into $4.7 million in resources and services to support outreach and recruitment, youth work experiences, adult training scholarships, on-the-job training opportunities and incumbent worker training for minorities and women interested in the trades. CAWS is currently managing grants for three local public projects totaling over $750,000 that will result in 200+ diverse individuals being trained and placed in construction jobs.

There has been no other local entity or initiative that brings regional stakeholders, leaders and practitioners together to collectively address these issues. Nor has there been a space for all of the entities to work together on achieving specific goals pertaining to training and diversifying the construction workforce.

Will you take up the CAWS? Join today! Contact Kelly Haines for more information.

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