Data show that construction has become a high-growth industry in the Portland Metro Area. In the next ten years, more than 15,000 new jobs are expected, outpacing other industries in the region. These are high paying jobs, averaging over $25 per hour. Current and future building trends, both public and private, are rapidly increasing the demand for skilled tradespeople in the region. One-fifth of the region’s construction workforce is at, or nearing, retirement age. Contractors are currently looking across the country to fill positions. How can we work together to address training and workforce needs locally and capture this opportunity to build a supply of locally trained workers?

Visit our site to explore careers in construction!

The Columbia Willamette Workforce Collaborative – comprised of the 3 workforce board in our region including Worksystems, Workforce Southwest Washington and Clackamas Workforce Partnership – convene industry leaders to determine their workforce needs and develop a plan (see below) to support the industry. These priorities have been vetted and approved by industry leaders in the region, who will also evaluate and monitor progress toward completion:

  • Connect youth to jobs, training and apprenticeship opportunities in construction
  • Advance equity and diversity in the construction industry
  • Improve retention of existing apprentices and workers
  • Connect “career changers” to jobs, training and career opportunities in construction

Other areas of focus include better marketing of career opportunities, recruiting non-traditional construction workers, creating industry support tools such as mentoring to retain their workforce, and helping industry strengthen best practices for recruiting and screening the best candidates.

Creating a workforce plan to support the construction industry allows us to identify common industry workforce challenges, coalesce around shared goals, and align the efforts of the public workforce system to make a greater overall impact for the sector.

To help achieve the goal of diversifying the construction workforce, Worksystems staffs the Construction Apprenticeship Workforce Solutions (CAWS) committee comprised of owners, developers, contractors, unions, and community organizations from across the industry – all dedicated to increasing the representation of people of color and women in the trades. In addition, we staff the The Metropolitan Alliance for Workforce Equity (MAWE) to guide and oversee the City of Portland’s Community Benefit Agreements to ensure that minorities and women are included on city-owned construction projects.

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