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Commissioner's Message
​Commissioner's Message - August 2, 2012
Direct support to Oregon's workforce and employers 
Dear Friends:
 Brad Avakian speaks to middle school girls at Oregon Tradeswomen's Building Girls Construction Camp on July 20.
As I’ve led the charge to start bringing 21st century shop classes to Oregon schools, I’ve become well-acquainted with the really incredible work that a lot of Oregonians are already doing to support our youth in gaining job skills and exploring high-wage careers that don’t require a four-year degree.  Just in the last two weeks I’ve visited a Building Girls Construction Camp put on by Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc., and a Girls Get IT camp organized by Hillsboro High School’s Savannah Loberger—who’s becoming a state celebrity on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education issues. 
It’s hard to describe how impressed I am by these great programs.  They are exactly the kind of foundational skill training and career exploration that Oregon needs to restore to every middle and high school in the state.  That’s why BOLI is on the front lines of workforce development—not just supporting current apprentices and local training committees, but funding educational camps through Oregon Tradeswomen and Portland Community College, and funding a host of programs at schools across Oregon that promote the next generation of our workforce.
Oregon Mayor's Assoc Florence 2012-07-26 036.jpgI spoke at a summit of Oregon's mayors last week, and I was pleased by the enthusiasm for community involvement in creating more opportunities for our youth to explore options for their future.  Every investment in job- or career-related training for Oregon youth, both in-school and out-of-school, pays dividends not only for that young person, but for the whole community around them.  It's clear that Oregon's mayors want to support strong returns on investment--exactly what we're going to see more of as 21st century shop classes grow up around the state.
Expanding BOLI's role in the early stages of workforce development is a natural extension of the work we've been doing for more than 70 years to ensure high standards in apprenticeship and training programs and for almost 40 years to educate employers and avoid unnecessary worker complaints.  Oregon’s Apprenticeship and Training Division is responsible for maintaining our federally recognized system of registered apprenticeship, helping more than 150 local training committees to skill up thousands of registered apprentices around the state. 
BOLI’s Technical Assistance for Employers Program is a critical direct-support program for employers in our state.  Answering over 15,000 individual emails and phone calls in a year would be challenging enough, but our team does that while also bringing on-site, customized trainings to employers around the state and offering public seminars throughout the year, all leading up to an annual conference on employment laws that is perhaps the single best investment in training that an organization can make.  This program is especially valuable to the economically vital small businesses that can’t call on a team of lawyers or HR professionals to handle employment law issues.
All of these efforts center around one key goal for me and BOLI: taking direct action to advance employment opportunities for all Oregonians.  It's a major part of BOLI's overall mission, and I look forward to sharing more successes from these vital efforts in the coming months.
Local Partnership Funds Job Opportunities
Commissioner Avakian visited the Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute's Carpenter Boot Camp which, in partnership with Portland Community College and funded by BOLI, acquaints young Oregonians with what it means and what it takes to become a skilled carpenter.  This week-long experience is one of several programs funded around the state by the BOLI-ODOT Workforce Partnership
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Warning for Veterans - Possible VRAP Scam
BOLI is asking all Oregon veterans to be aware of a potential scam targeting veterans who have either signed up or been approved for the Veteran’s Retraining Assistance Program (“VRAP”).  VRAP is the program that funds monthly stipends to veterans attending a training school or community college.
A veteran has reported receiving a call from someone named “James” who congratulated him on his VRAP approval. He advised him that he knew the exact amount he was approved for and that the $8,500 would be directly deposited into his account within 45 minutes of him giving his banking account number and routing number and paying $205 for the service fee.
This person is not affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Please advise veterans not to provide banking account information over the phone to anyone. VA will never charge you to access your benefits or ask you to provide private information over the phone. If you do receive a call like this, please contact the Oregon Attorney General (http://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer/scam_alert.shtml) or the Federal Trade Commission.
The TA Tracker
Technical Assistance for Employers Program through half of 2012
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 www.oregon.gov/BOLI/TA.  We value your support!