Oregon contractors, state leaders host pre-apprenticeship programs to introduce teens to construction

|  July 23, 2013 |

Oregon construction teens

Students marvel at construction equipment at the I-84 Sandy River Bridge jobsite. Credit: Sunny Strader/The Oregonian

Expecting a sustained recovery in demand and the need to hire lots of young workers in the next few years, contractors in Oregon are working to drum up interest in the construction industry among teens and are reporting positive results.

The state’s construction businesses are expected to hire 30,000 workers by 2020—45 percent of which will replace retiring workers. With that in mind, industry leaders in Oregon are working to reach out to teens who enjoy working with their hands.

Part of that push are pre-apprenticeship programs, reports The Oregonian. One such program brings in teens to the jobsite to pour sidewalks and witness the construction of a bridge over the Sandy River firsthand.

Hamilton Construction, of Springfield, Oregon, teamed up with the Northwest College of Construction, a non-profit training group called Constructing Hope, the state’s labor bureau and the Youth Employment Group to host the program this summer.

It’s almost like a construction day camp where the teens are exposed to nine specialties through teaching on the jobsite and in classrooms. Ethan Klein, a recent high school graduate told the paper, “I didn’t realize there was so much to the field.” Other students immediately fell in love with the equipment. Smart kids.

The pre-apprenticeship programs have seen such a great response from teens that state and industry leaders in Oregon are working to offer more such programs, particularly aimed at minorities and women.

It will be interesting to see if the success Oregon has seen with this type of program inspires other states. It’s definitely a great idea, but, as Mike Rowe has recently been suggesting, it would be great to see these types of programs take place within high schools.

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