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Three Workforce Development Programs Building a Skilled Worker Pipeline in Spokane

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

Spokane’s home-building industry hasn’t been able to keep pace with population growth and housing demand, partly due to a skilled labor shortage.

The result: a housing affordability crisis.

  • The median price of a home in Spokane County hit a record high in 2022; in 2023, the median price remains over $400,000.

  • 84% of households in Spokane County cannot afford to buy a median-priced home in this market (Building Industry Association of Washington, Washington’s Housing Attainability Crisis Part 2).

In response to the widespread shortage of skilled workers in the home-building industry, organizations like Frame Your Future are partnering with area schools and industry leaders to provide construction-based curricula and hands-on training programs. Their mission is to build a pipeline of skilled residential construction workers that can help close the housing gap in Eastern Washington.

Here’s a roundup of three FREE workforce development programs open to students and adults seeking a career in construction.

Construction Bootcamp

The inaugural Construction Bootcamp is a three-week workforce development program for adults looking to start a career in construction. The course will take place April 10-27 and classes will occur Monday through Thursday, 5-8 p.m. Participants will learn construction basics like equipment safety and blueprint reading and the classes will include hands-on projects and guest speakers from industry leaders.

Frame Your Future Construction Camp

Frame Your Future’s third annual Construction Camp will take place over a weekend in May 2023. During this two-day camp, high school students partner with volunteer instructors from the construction industry to receive hands-on training while building garden sheds. In past years, some students that completed the camp received job offers from industry volunteers–a testament to the value of the program.

At the Construction Camp, students gain hands-on experience in the following areas:

  • Blueprint reading

  • Finish carpentry

  • Framing

  • Power tools

  • Roofing

  • Safety

  • Sheet metal work

  • Siding

Trades Training

FYF is partnering with Innovation High School to pilot a two-year Trades Training program. Students are learning engineering concepts and sustainable building practices while getting hands-on experience building a structure from the ground up. At the conclusion of the training, the final product will be sold or auctioned and the funds will help cover the following year's program costs.

During the training, students are exposed to the following skill areas through classroom learning and hands-on exposure:

  • ​Blueprint reading

  • Electrical

  • Energy efficiency

  • Finish carpentry

  • Framing

  • Plumbing

  • Renewable energy

  • Roofing

  • Safety

  • Sheet metal work

  • Siding

  • Sustainable building

Industry-driven workforce development programs like these are taking real, meaningful action to address Spokane’s housing challenges. You can support these efforts by sharing this blog post with your network, donating to programs like Frame Your Future, and volunteering at workforce development events!

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