Willamette Carpenter Training Center | Portland

The tools of the trade are changing.

Tablets, large format computer screens, 3D modeling, and interactive plan software are attracting the next generation of diverse construction leaders at Willamette Carpenter Training Center.

"We're techies too," says Mike Hawes, executive director at the center.

Not only can the technology track production, it also has a big impact on getting jobs done faster and safer. Hawes says that technology is a great recruitment tool, appealing to digital natives.

The center sees 180 apprentices each week, and each apprentice completes 40 hours of training each quarter. Nearly 10% of apprentices are women, and 37% are minorities, working toward reflecting the communities they serve. The center has grown by 60% in the last three years, with 1640 apprentices currently in the program.

With all that growth, safety is paramount. Apprentices get five safety certifications in the first week, including fall protection, and CPR. Instructors are sent to an international training center to learn how to effectively teach classes, communication, and safety procedures.

Among the training they are most proud of is a course on positive job site culture. The idea is that job sites will be safer and more productive when workers confront unconscious bias, realize the impact of bullying, and empower leadership to know how to react in those situations.

To learn more about Willamette Carpenter Training Center, visit pnci.org

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