A program to bolster the region’s construction trades workforce has added a sixth government partner.
Portland Community College president Mark Mitsui announced Aug. 31 that PCC was adopting the Construction Careers Pathways Framework, a program that aims to head off a forecast shortage of skilled labor by increasing access to the trades for women and people of color.
The framework, spearheaded by Metro, is also used by Portland city government, Clackamas and Multnomah counties and Portland Public Schools.
The construction careers program focuses on recruitment and retention of women and people of color into skilled labor jobs that have historically been dominated by white men. As the region continues to grow and workers reach retirement age, trade unions say they expect to be short of workers in the years to come.
The barriers the construction program aims to address include direct barriers, like racism, sexism and harassment in the workplace, to indirect barriers, like access to child care and other supports for workers.
“This program builds stability and careers for our region’s workers, and helps keep construction costs low by having a trained workforce ready to deploy on any project,” said Metro Council President Lynn Peterson. “By using public projects to establish the program, we can make it easier for construction projects everywhere to use these principles and a diverse workforce.”
At PCC, Matsui said the work will include:
- Setting (and enforcing) clear workforce diversity objectives
- Setting project thresholds that trigger workforce objectives and tracking
- Tracking and reviewing progress on workforce goals via LCP (and addressing deficits)
- The earnest consideration of a workforce agreement on suitable projects in the future
- Establishing project thresholds for mandatory, approved Respectful Workplace Program implementation (and enforcement)
- Invest in the workforce supply through support of PCC’s BOLI-certified pre-apprenticeship program and close collaboration with other PATP
- Participate in regional collaborations that promote a coordinated strategy toward equitable construction career pathway outcomes
“PCC understands that equitable access to high wage, high skill construction careers contributes to economic independence for populations that have been historically excluded from this pathway out of poverty,” Matsui said. “We are dedicated to working with regional partners to fortify pathways into the skilled trades and bolster retention of women, Black, Indigenous, LatinX and other People of Color on publicly-funded construction projects.”