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Commissioner's Message
Brad's Thoughts

Dear Friends:
On Friday, I spoke to a group of educators from Oregon and Washington about careers in the skilled trades and how we can empower young people with job skills while at the same time growing the workforce that local employers need to be internationally competitive.  They were excited about what we’ve already done, bringing programs back to 21 Oregon schools just this year, and excited about what we will do, calling on the legislature to expand this smart, widely popular investment in the future of our economy.
Oregonians get it.
The positive response that I get when talking about new and expanded 21st century shop classes in our public schools is incredible.  There is no partisan divide, no urban-rural divide—Oregonians get it.  From Churchill High in Eugene to Joseph High in Joseph, schools are already seeing those programs this year, and by this time next year I expect to see even more programs throughout the state.
The economic opportunity for young Oregonians to come out of high school with job skills and practical experience already on their resumes is important, but the multiplier effect of having such programs available in schools all over the state will pay huge dividends for Oregon’s economy.  The same is true of the supportive services contracts made possible by the BOLI-ODOT Workforce Development Program—getting more Oregonians into living wage jobs sooner and empowering them to stay there and support a stronger economy for all of us.
Oregonians get it: they understand a sound plan when you present it, and they want to see results to ensure accountability.
Just a handful of the Oregonians helped by the BOLI-ODOT partnership have their stories highlighted here, and a diverse range of others have seen direct support to get started or stay in a construction industry apprenticeship in our state.  These supportive services, delivered by local community partners, take the spirit of 21st century shop classes a step farther by offering supports along the whole career pathway.  This kind of model, especially when coupled with career and technical education options throughout our public schools, will give Oregon a steady stream of highly-skilled, adaptable workers to drive our 21st century economy.
I know that Oregonians get it when it comes to building the best workforce available anywhere.  We’ve got lots of energy driving in the right direction now, and keeping it rolling will bring nothing but advantages for Oregon’s economy.

Oregon Council on Civil Rights Wants Your Input!
OCCR members want to hear from community members about their experiences with pay inequity and to gather feedback on the various models the Council has been researching to end pay inequity.  Summaries of the approaches taken in Sweden, Quebec, Ontario, Switzerland, and Canada’s federal law are available on the OCCR website, along with a link to an online input tool.
A recent report finds the wage gap is hurting women throughout Oregon, and that gender and race both drive pay disparity.  Avakian and OCCR are leading the charge to tackle this long-running issue, preparing to offer up a state action plan later this year that can serve as a model for other jurisdictions.

2013 Minimum Wage Announced

Effective January 1, 2013, Oregon's minimum wage will increase to $8.95 per hour.  More than 120,000 workers are directly impacted by the increase, which is driven by the 1.7% rise in the Consumer Price Index from 2011 to 2012 and is called for by law enacted by Oregon voters in 2002.


BOLI's News Release

BOLI News Central for a round-up of articles from around the state

CTE Spotlight: Churchill High and Eugene School District

Visiting Churchill High School in Eugene, one of 21 schools seeing new and expanded career and technical education (CTE) programs as a result of legislation that Commissioner Avakian championed in 2011, the Commissioner commented on the exciting future of Churchill's community-integrated pre-engineering programs--and the potential for it to be a model in other school districts in the coming years.


BOLI's News Release

KEZI story on the visit

Typhoon Settlement Fund Open for Claims

To ensure that as many eligible workers as possible file claims on the Typhoon Resolution Fund established by the settlement of BOLI's charges against Typhoon!, Inc., BOLI staffers are reaching out to known former employees directly as well as engaging community resources to spread the information even more broadly.


BOLI's News Release

Typhoon Resolution Fund webpage

Apprentice Spotlight: AJ Banuelos
Despite coming from a big family of union tradespeople, Anjanet “AJ” Banuelos never thought seriously about apprenticeship.  Or at least not until she was looking for work, drawing public assistance and trying to take care of three kids.  Pre-apprenticeship training through Constructing Hope seemed like an option, but chance landed her in Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc's pre-apprenticeship program.
AJ hasn't looked back.  Now less than 500 hours away from 4th term as a laborer apprentice, she seems far away from the clerical work that she thinks high school prepared her for.  With not only the skills but the social network that OTI helped her to build, AJ feels like she's on solid footing—and wants to offer the same confidence and opportunity to succeed to others.
“I volunteer a lot with OTI, let them use my story, anything I can do,” AJ says with a smile.  “And the supportive services, like childcare—I'm always telling other apprentices, do you know this help is out there?”
Noting that finding childcare when your days aren't 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, especially when you're on a job out of town and need a provider who can accommodate that, AJ emphasized, “Childcare is a huge issue.”  She likes the BOLI-ODOT workforce partnership's support for childcare expenses, per diems and other efforts to keep Oregon apprentices in their programs and on the job—she just wishes even more help was available.
AJ is far from complaining about apprenticeship in Oregon, though.  Asked what else she might be doing today, she laughingly said, “I don't even know.”  After a moment more of thought she says with characteristic honesty, “I don't even want to think about that.”
Downplaying her own hard work to get where she is, AJ is quick to express thanks to OTI especially: she recalls their pre-apprenticeship program making her interested in every trade except roofing, when she came in leaning strongly towards becoming an electrician.  The experience was so positive that AJ, something of a good-will ambassador for OTI, sent her daughter to a Building Girls Construction Camp earlier this year—and reports that the “girly girl” was really excited about all that she learned.
OTI's supportive environment and strong foundation not only helped AJ start on the right path, but also provide great examples for her suggestions for helping to keep other apprentices on the path to success: mentoring and networking among apprentices to share information and foster other mutual supports.  AJ sees tips on simple things like helping to understand difficult bosses as a great gift from older apprentices to younger ones, and just between starting apprentices opportunities to carpool or suggestions on good childcare providers can be invaluable.
AJ's perspective on Oregon apprenticeship came with no pulled punches and no whitewash, but plenty of optimism.  She's ready to be on the front lines working to make apprenticeship even more accessible and more supportive of future apprentices.  That level of energy and commitment should come as no surprise, though, from a woman who spent three months travelling from her Troutdale home to work on the west side of the Willamette River--riding the bus, MAX train and street car, all three, both directions, every day for three months.
TA Tracker
Technical Assistance for Employers Program, through three quarters of the year:
BOLI Technical Assistance seminars:
Lane, Marion, Multnomah, Baker, Umatilla, Jackson, Douglas
Public seminars hosted by local OECs:
Coos, Linn-Benton, Lane, Malheur, Union, Curry, Multnomah, Josephine, Washington
Private, customized on-site trainings:
Lane, Multnomah, Marion, Washington, Douglas
Total training days logged since Jan. 1
To learn more about TA’s various services and how they can help your business, visit our webpage​.  We value your support!