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?

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In October of 2016, the Collaborative held a Construction Workforce Convening to discuss these challenges and to begin the process of engaging companies in the development of the 2017-2019 regional, industry specific workforce strategy. Creating a regional construction plan 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.

Companies identified several priority areas, indicating a strong emphasis be placed throughout on 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. Details of each priority area can be found in the Construction Workforce Plan below.

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.