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Building a Training Pipeline for Skilled Construction Workers

Eight out of 10 families can’t afford to buy a home in Spokane, and that’s partly due to a lack of skilled construction workers. One necessary solution to the housing crisis is building a training pipeline for residential construction, and that’s the mission behind Frame Your Future.

Here’s the problem: the demand for housing in the Spokane area has spiked, but the number of people entering the construction industry has not.

  • 23% of Washington’s construction workers are over the age of 55.

  • One in four construction workers in Washington will hit retirement age by 2030.

  • School districts continue to cut career and technical education budgets, reducing student exposure to trades like construction.

  • Training pathways to careers in construction aren’t easily accessible to students or adults.

If a student isn’t exposed to careers in construction, he or she won’t know that a career in construction is one of the easiest ways to become a small business owner. And if a student is exposed to careers in construction, trying to find a training program to enter the field can be discouraging.

Think about it, if a student wants to become a teacher or an attorney, they more than likely have learned about the steps they need to take to start one of those careers. But if a student wants to become a home builder, they probably have very little knowledge about what they can do during and after high school to start a career. This shouldn’t be the case.

That’s why FYF is collaborating with industry leaders, high schools and other workforce development programs to build a training pipeline for construction workers. We provide industry-led programs for adults and students to increase awareness and knowledge around the training-to-career pathways that are available in the construction industry.

FYF’s construction worker training pipeline includes a mix of classroom instruction, hands-on training, and on-the-job experience for youth and adults. High school students and adults can participate in multiple programs where they’ll gain hands-on experience in the following areas:

  • Blueprint reading

  • Electrical

  • Energy efficiency

  • Finish carpentry

  • Framing

  • Plumbing

  • Power tools

  • Roofing

  • Safety

  • Sheet metal work

  • Siding

  • Sustainable building

FYF programs are taught and funded by industry leaders, many of whom offer apprenticeships and entry-level jobs to youth and adults who complete a FYF program.

FYF was launched in 2022 after raising $200,000 from building industry partners. Last year Spokane County granted the program $1 million. And our collaborative programs are also supported by fundraisers like the Spokane Home Builders Association Bull and Crab event. At last year’s event, SHBA raised around $10,000 and donated the funds to FYF.

Community members can support FYF’s efforts to build a training pipeline for skilled construction workers and close the housing affordability gap by donating here.

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