Bonamici forum focuses on apprenticeship expansion bill – Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon 2021-11-30 12:30:00 –

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Portland, OregonPortland Tribune) — As Executive Director of Oregon Tradeswomen, Kelly Kupcak finds that other women, and people of color, have the same opportunity to be an apprentice who helped raise two sons as heavy equipment operators in the union. I want it.

She started with the Ohio International Federation of Operating Engineers. She defended a woman with such a high-skilled and well-paid job and took up her current job in Portland in 2017. Together with Pat Daniels, who runs the Constructing Hope pre-training program, she wants to pave the way for more people, including: she.

“I’m a living proof of what pre-practice and registered practice can do,” Kupcak said in an online forum hosted by US Congressman Sae Yamamoto.

“We know that women and people of color not only participate in apprenticeships in the construction sector, but also face discrimination and work, so how can they stay in the industry? As an advocate, I’m working hard to discuss what needs to be changed to-site hostility. “

Jenna Hill is a third-year commercial painting apprentice sponsored by the District Council 51 of the International Painters Union and the Union Trade Union in the Washington, DC region. In response to a question from Bonamichi, Hill said she didn’t feel any obvious discrimination — but she was somewhat uncomfortable at first.

“Everyone I worked with was supportive,” she said. “I had many great role models, both male and female. Whether I’m the only female on the scene, they’re more than I’m a little out of my shell. It helped me to be comfortable. “

Beaverton and Bonamichi, a Democrat in District 1 of northwestern Oregon, are co-chairs of bipartisan apprentice caucuses and members of the Home Education and Labor Relations Commission.

Not only did she hold an online forum to commemorate the National Apprentice Week in November, but a pending law passed by the House of Representatives 10 months ago to update the National Apprenticeship Act for another five years (HR 447). Attention was drawn to. The bill proposes $ 3.5 billion over five years to expand apprenticeship opportunities by one million people. This is the first review since the original law was passed in 1937.

247-173 votes, including 28 Republicans who voted in favor, sent the bill to the Senate, but the Senate hasn’t moved.

“We need the Senate to pass the bill,” she said.

At the same time, she said, women make up less than 10% of all apprenticeships, and colored women earn less than white women.

“We need to give women and people equal access to this benefit,” she said.

“I understand the importance and potential of apprentices. They provide real-world exposure. They correlate with higher wages. Transferable credentials are available at other places of employment. It can be used, and it can also lead to some kind of long-term employment. “

Big return

Virginia Democrat Bobby Scott, who heads the House of Representatives, said 92% of apprentices will find employment as soon as they complete an average annual wage of $ 72,000. He said the Buildback Better Budget Resolution, which includes funding for President Joe Biden’s social priorities passed in the House of Representatives, includes enough for one million new apprentices to work $ 20 billion. He said it included power training.

He said those apprentices would generate $ 10 billion in taxes or other federal spending savings.

“As the recovery from the pandemic continues, workers across the country are looking for high-paying jobs that can support themselves and their families,” he said. “On the other hand, the shortage of skilled workers is a major challenge for employers and the economy. Therefore, we need to use all the tools workers need to find jobs and prepare for quality employment opportunities. ..

“Our workforce development system has not received a significant investment in any of the COVID relief packages. Simply put, we are most in need of business and the country’s best workforce development initiative. I left a shortage of resources when I was there. “

Bonamici and Scott said Build Back Better, coupled with the recently signed federal infrastructure law, will create 2.3 million jobs, which are well paid but require higher skills.

Aliea Mansaray is a human resources apprentice at City Works DC and a senior at the Friendship Tech Prep Charter School. Her participation shows that not all apprentices are tied to heavy industry, and there are alternatives to colleges that allow people to make money while learning at work, she said. ..

“My family was really tough on me entering a career that guarantees financial stability. I wasn’t very sure about opposition to them,” she said. “What I did was take a risk. I don’t know anything until I try.”

Female champion

Two U.S. Department of Labor officials say they are ready to file proceedings with apprentice women to increase racial and ethnic minorities.

“We want to change the outcome of individual women and their work environment,” said Wendy Chun-hoon, director of women’s bureau. “For the last 100 years, the bureau has challenged the status quo, which requires a bold and sustainable investment in women’s work.”

Angela Hanks is Deputy Assistant Secretary overseeing the Department of Employment and Training. Her aunt was the second female and the second black man to complete an apprenticeship under the International Electric Workers Fraternity Brotherhood in 1978. She is currently under the United Auto Workers, but is a master electrician.

Hanks, however, said there are still too few apprentice women and minorities.

“It was unbelievable that she had this opportunity, which gave her a career that lasts to this day,” Hanks said. “We need more women to get this opportunity.”

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