2012 Bridge to Opportunity Transportation Forum

Warren_WhitlockSkillUp Washington was honored to sponsor a regional forum in July 17 to discuss the recent passage of HB 2673  and federal policy aimed at increasing diversity in the highway construction workforce.  Warren Whitlock, Associate Administrator for Civil Rights Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) (pictured right), discussed ways to build a diverse workforce in the highway construction industry and the tools needed to build and support diversity in the trades. Participants learned about different state models for increasing diversity in federal highway construction workforce (OR and WI), as well as one WA state model that could be expanded statewide.  Forum participants discussed opportunities to foster more robust connections between FHWA On- the-Job Training opportunities  and registered apprenticeship—thus providing a more effective training pipeline to construction careers for women, minorities and other disadvantaged individuals.  

Forum participants included: contractors, state departments of transportation (OR and WA), union and open shop apprenticeship programs that train people for trades involved in highway construction, pre-apprenticeship programs, state apprenticeship agencies (OR and WA), community-based organizations from both states, Apprenticeship Council members, organized labor representatives, FHWA state representatives, community and technical college representatives, and state workforce investment board staff.

The Washington State Department of Transportation, Port of Seattle, and Washington State Department of Labor and Industries were co-sponsors.









1-(Pictured right) Pete Lahmann, Apprenticeship
Coordinator, NW Laborers and Employers Training

2- Steve Simms, Apprenticeship
Program Manager, Bureau of Labor and
Industries, OR

3- Pamela Banks, CEO,  Urban League of Metropolitan

Forum Documents

Federal Highway Administration memo about on-the-job supportive services (OJT/SS) funds (March 2012):

Promotional brochure for Center of Excellence for Skilled Trades and Industry (Wisconsin):


Journal of Planning Education and Research article on community-based regionalism, transportation, and local hiring agreements (March 2009): Going_Regional_Article.pdf

Interim report on apprenticeship needs in heavy highway construction workforce (Oregon, March 2012):

Oregon legislation related to transportation workforce development (SB 894, 2009):

Learn more about the forum panelists:

Sectoral employment impact study showing those who participated in sector-specific programs fared much better than those who did not across a variety of mearsures/Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership/Charles Stewart Mott Foundation:

Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin) editorial (2007) on the Center of Excellence:

Forum presentation- WRTP/BIG STEP/Center of Excellence:

Additional research:



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    Great things happen when frontline workers become a more integrated part of hospital care teams and work hand in hand with labor-management to design “green” projects and take a lead in the their implementation. 

    The Seattle-based Frontline Workers Green Training Projects is a SkillUp funded case study surrounding labor/management partners engaging frontline workers to lead hospital environmental sustainability efforts, supporting: people (patients, workers, the community)the planet (the environment); and profits (costs).

    Download the report:  Frontline Workers Green Training Project.pdf