On October 25, Associated General Contractors Oregon-Columbia Chapter hosted career and technical education teachers, Lane Community College representatives, area contractors, and other workforce development professionals to discuss on-going construction workforce development programming and to build partnerships across sectors to improve, enhance, and expand these programs. The event was planned in coordination with Lane Workforce Partnership and Lane Education Service District, and similar to events AGC has planned and coordinated in Bend, Astoria, Medford, and Klamath Falls.

The event allowed for speakers from a variety of construction-focused programs to discuss their ongoing initiatives. The goal was to educate area contractors on what’s happening in their region while also enticing them to join the effort. Speakers included Lyle Lang, youth director from Lane Workforce Partnership, who spoke about the efforts of the Construction/Aggregate consortium to develop work-based learning opportunities for area high school students. Shareen Vogel, CTE regional coordinator at Lane ESD, provided information on the development and implementation of a high school pre-apprenticeship program and the creation of regional advisory committees. Shareen also spoke to Elevate Lane County’s work to provide additional work-based learning opportunities to high school students and Elevate’s teacher externship program. And finally, Amy Burbee, lead project coordinator at Lane Community College, spoke about the college’s annual Celebration of Apprenticeship during National Apprenticeship Week.

Also in attendance to speak was Val Hoyle, Bureau of Labor and Industries commissioner (BOLI). Val detailed how BOLI is working across the state to promote apprenticeship as a viable alternative to college and how the agency assists partners in creating more opportunities for young people to experience and develop the skillset needed in the construction trades.

After the presentations, attendees engaged in a conversation that centered on what industry is looking for in their future workforce and how educational and training providers can work to meet those needs. With over 90 people in attendance, the event offered a rare opportunity to bring stakeholders together to share concerns, highlight successes, and identify new partnership ideas. It is always great to see industry and education interact, and this event was no different. As a next step, AGC, Lane Workforce Partnership, and Lane ESD will meet to discuss how to incorporate the ideas and conversation from the event into current programming.

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