Spokane Construction Industry Skill Panel

The Spokane Construction Industry Skill Panel was convened in November 2004 by the Community Colleges of Spokane’s Institute for Extending Learning and many other partners in business, labor, and government. Its goal is to ensure the continued growth and viability of the Spokane region’s construction industry. The skill panel is addressing several concerns, among which are:

  • The aging local construction workforce, with 20% of the existing workforce expected to retire in the next four years.
  • A significant decrease in the numbers of young people who are choosing to enter vocational careers in general, and the construction industry in particular.
  • Projections from the US Department of Labor indicating that the construction industry will continue to grow in the foreseeable future, adding one million new jobs by the year 2012.
  • Rapid growth of the construction industry in the Spokane region, which currently has many jobs available for a shrinking workforce.

To date the skill panel has:

  • Continued to recruit additional panel members, and views recruiting as an ongoing process.
  • Developed preliminary strategies including designing a mobile display unit focused on interesting young people in construction careers.
  • Convened focus groups of public school students to identify what is necessary to make marketing materials and educational or training displays and events interesting to persons in their age group — in other words, identifying the sorts of materials, displays and events that will engage young people.
  • Developed and delivered a special half-day event designed to interest young women in construction careers. Because of this event’s success, more are planned for the future.
  • Defined some local and regional factors that are causing the decline in numbers of young people entering the construction workforce. Among them are:
    • Parental pressure to “go to college” (i.e., obtain a university education) and not “work with your hands.”
    • High School counselors who encourage students to attend college or university, rather than pursue professional-technical (formerly “vocational”) careers.
    • A decline in the number of meaningful “vocational” or “shop” courses that are offered in the public schools.
    • The stereotypical negative image of the construction trades.

South Central Workforce Development Council Skills Panel

The South Central WDC Construction Skills Panel (serving Kittitas, Klickitat, and Yakima Counties), along with the Laborers’, Carpenters’, Sheet Metal Workers, Painters, Yakima Valley Community College, Yakama Nation, and the Associated General Contractors were successful in their application for the Statewide Apprenticeship Training Grant, locally referred to as TAPIT (Tri-County Apprenticeship, Pre-apprenticeship, and Incumbent Worker Training). These funds have provided the opportunity to train both unemployed workers for entry into employment and/or apprenticeship and incumbent workers within the building trades.

Responsibilities include the following:

  • Develop a career ladder training for the Construction Industry.
  • Development and delivery of the core curricula customized by the construction trades.
  • Development and delivery of customized training as defined by the industry for incumbent apprentices and journeymen.
  • Allocation of training resources and selection of training providers.
  • Identify specific training needed to fill jobs where skill gaps arise.

Recent accomplishments include:

  • 52 unemployed workers received core construction training and 96% of those attained credentials.
  • 415 incumbent apprentices and/or journeymen have upgraded skills and 99.6% attained credentials.
  • Yakima Valley Community College developing vocational ESL classes to commence in fall 2005.
  • Assisted Yakama Nation Housing Authority in developing a Building Apprenticeship Training (BAT) program with the AGC and Department of Labor.
  • Development of a Mentoring Program for Native Americans interested in the Construction Industry.
  • Currently expanding efforts to link high school students to the Construction Industry via the Tri-County Youth Council.

Snohomish County Construction Careers Partnership

The Snohomish County Construction Careers Partnership was initiated by the Snohomish County Workforce Development Council in late 2004, as a way of convening local business, labor, industry associations, apprenticeship, education, and other partners interested in workforce needs for the construction industry. The goals of the Snohomish County Construction Careers Partnership are to:

  • Identify current and future industry-specific employment skills and training needs and
  • Create or expand options for job growth and training in the County to meet these needs.

The Partnership's motto is: "Construction...a great career choice!"

The following highlight recent accomplishments:

  • Organized and hosted the "Construction Business Opportunities Breakfast Conference - Winter Olympic Games" for over 100 Washington and Oregon construction industry business people,
  • Spearheaded the establishment of a Construction Project Management Certificate program offered by Washington State University at the University Center at Everett Station, and
  • On-going construction industry promotion campaign through speaking engagements, public TV, and local newspaper articles.

New! The Snohomish WDC has launched an initiative called "Career Trees," which visually represent pathways in the county's high demand industries, including construction.

Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County

The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (SKWDC) In 2000, SKWDC was part of a three-area construction skill panel emphasizing the promotion of career paths for potential and incumbent workers. Since then, the SKWDC’s Youth Council identified construction career pathways as a viable and successful route for young people in their area. SKWDC also conducted an extensive, county-wide analysis of the industry, finding continued growth and high wages. Construction is in the top 12 industries showing the highest numbers of job vacancies in King County.

Based on this analysis of the construction sector as well a the current priorities of the WDC Youth Council, the 2005-2006 WDC strategy for the construction sector includes the following:

  • Focus construction efforts on the older youth (18-21) population, particularly out-of-school youth.
  • Identify and target new employer and apprenticeship partnerships in the construction sector, focusing on developing connections to big public works projects.
  • Increase linkages with existing youth programs that provide work experience, training, and internships in the construction sector.

Visit the Youth@Work website and read the report at: http://www.youthatwork.info/

The Safety Training Center The Safety Training Center is a broad-based coalition of labor, business and public entities are establishing a state-of-the-art Safety Training Center. The Center will be housed at South Seattle Community College, Duwamish Apprenticeship and Education Center, and will the safety needs of construction, transportation and manufacturing.

Construction Skill Panels

Industry skill panels are public/private partnerships of business, labor, and education working together to improve the skills of workers in industries vital to Washington. These panels address workforce trends by creating projects in their local areas, which can be shared through the Construction Center of Excellence (CCE) and replicated in other parts of the state. Similarly, the CCE initiates training and services that can meet local skill panel needs. This relationship fosters real-time response to current skill gaps and projected economic drivers.

To learn more about Washington's Skill Panels, select a link below: