STEM workers in the trades

Tradeswoman Tia Vonil is an electrician.On OPB radio’s Think Out Loud interview segment, “Examining The Shortage Of Craft Workers In Oregon,” Dave Miller interviews trade industry experts.

Listen to Connie Ashbrook, Executive Director of Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc., talk about construction and manufacturing apprenticeship programs, referencing a Brookings Institute report, “The Hidden STEM Economy,” about STEM careers that do not require a four-year college degree. Ashbrook says the lack of knowledge of blue collar professions, including the trades, is keeping young people from pursuing jobs such as Auto Techs and Mechanics, Carpenters, Plumbers, Registered Nurses and Welders, which are incredibly important to our economy.

Other guests are Steve Malany, President of the board of directors at the Associated General Contractors Oregon-Columbia Chapter, and Tia Vonil (pictured above), Graduate of the Oregon Tradeswomen’s Pathways To Success Program and a third-year union electrical apprentice in Portland.

In early childhood classrooms we often learn about “community helpers” such as firefighters and doctors. Let’s make sure we include workers such as plumbers too.

 Full disclosure: I am proud to be Connie’s sister!

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One Comment

  1. Peggy Ashbrook
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of plumbers, read what tradeswoman Rebecca Greiff likes most about her trade, plumbing, at

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