Acting U.S. Labor Secretary Julie Su joined U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) in Portland last week to discuss an issue that has long been front-and-center for Worksystems and our network of community partners – how can we get more women and people of color into living-wage careers in the skilled trades?

Worksystems’ Business Services Manager Kelly Haines took part in a roundtable discussion hosted by Su at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48 in east Portland. The conversation on diversifying the trades is particularly relevant in light of the recent generational investments by the federal government in strengthening infrastructure and developing the clean energy economy. Worksystems and our community partners – including Oregon Tradeswomen, who also took part in the gathering – are engaged in putting those investments to work to help Portland Metro area residents of all backgrounds make the transition to living-wage careers.

“These investments are doing work that hasn’t been done in a long time — and those jobs have not always been open and available to everybody in every community,” Su said at the panel discussion. “So we say along with all of you very clearly: Not this time, and not on our watch. This time is going to be different.”

These investments are funding capital projects in all 50 states, including large-scale enhancements to transportation and energy infrastructure such as the Interstate Bridge project here in the Metro area. Worksystems and our partners will continue to lead the way in funding and providing the training, education, and wraparound support services that people need to work on, and prosper from, these projects.

Click here, here, and here to learn more about Worksystems’ efforts to diversify the trades and prepare the workforce to participate in the upcoming transformation of our infrastructure.

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