Worksystems was hired by Metro to conduct an in-depth market study of the construction industry in the Portland Metro area. Our report analyzes the existing labor supply and forecasts the local five-year workforce demand based on planned construction projects and extensive interviews with public agencies, contractors, apprenticeship programs, and pre-apprenticeship programs.
While the report seeks to provide a comprehensive look at the construction labor market as a whole, it is also intended to help Metro and regional construction partners more effectively invest resources toward promotion of equitable growth in the region's economy through the enhancement of career opportunities for women and people of color in the construction trades. To this end, focus groups with diverse construction workers and foremen in the region were conducted to uncover the major barriers to achieving equity and increasing diversity in the construction workforce.
Of the roughly 23,000 people who work in nonresidential construction in the region, only 4% are women and 20% are minorities.
Our report also proposal several recommendations to increase recruitment and retention of diverse workers and to develop more robust equity policies and practices including:
- Ensuring steading funding to increase capacity of pre-apprenticeship programs
- Investing in ongoing supportive services for apprentices
- Addressing job site culture issues through training
- Enforcing construction contract goals, with consequences for non-compliance
- Sustaining regional investment in the construction workforce pipeline