Friday, February 23, 2018

Seattle Commission Commits $3M for Training

By Karen Robes Meeks

In an effort to tackle the shortage of skilled trades people in the Puget Sound, the Port of Seattle Commission has committed $3 million to expand construction training and job opportunities for those in underrepresented communities. The funding carries out the Priority Hire Policy Directive that commissioners approved last November.

The program seeks to recruit and refer women, minorities and those in low-income neighborhoods to construction pre-apprentice or apprentice training programs; broaden pre-apprenticeship hands-on and classroom training that emphasizes math, safety, and physical conditioning and provide support services such as childcare and transportation for trainees in an effort to remove potential barriers to success.

“Local workers of all backgrounds should benefit from major public construction projects, but the facts tell us that has not been the case. We need a deliberate and regional effort to fix a historical imbalance and give women, minorities and workers from disadvantaged neighborhoods real opportunities,” said Commission President Courtney Gregoire. “Hiring local workers for skilled construction jobs also makes business sense by improving project delivery, lowering project cost, and helping our industries find skilled workers.”