Trades Orientation Program Builds Pipeline To Construction Career

The booming Silicon Valley economy hides the growing crisis of the “missing middle” – the increasing scarcity of middle-wage jobs that are accessible to the average person and can support a family in this high-cost region.

At the same time the Silicon Valley labor movement is fighting to raise the floor and create more middle-wage jobs, unions are also working to expand access to those good, family-supporting jobs that are still in demand. With both public and private development projects on a long-term growth trajectory, the high-road construction industry offers one of the best opportunities to work hard and move up to the middle class.

But many people who are looking for just such an opportunity either don’t consider construction as a career option, or don’t understand how to get into the industry.  Gender balance is especially skewed – among all California construction workers, fewer than 3% are women.

The Trades Orientation Program (TOP) seeks to turn that dynamic on its head by opening up the pathway into building trades apprenticeships to women, youth, minorities, veterans, people struggling with housing, and anyone else who is ready, willing and able to embark on a construction career.

TOP is a pre-apprentice class offered by Working Partnerships USA, designed to put students on the pathway to a job as an apprentice and a career in the building trades. Because it is a collaborative partnership with industry representatives from the Building Trades unions and the Apprenticeship Coordinators, graduates not only earn a nationally recognized certificate, but are directly connected to local employment and apprenticeship opportunities.

The latest TOP class launched this week with 24 students, including 8 referred through a new partnership to recruit homeless individuals into TOP so they can access the information, training and support needed to find not just a job, but a pathway to self-sufficiency.

No Comments

Leave a Comment