Youth Initiatives

In working with manufacturers it quickly became clear that they are concerned with the quality and number of young workers entering the industry.  It’s not a surprise this is their number one workforce priority given the industry has an aging workforce with many workers due to retire over the next 10 years.

If you ask young people today, you will find that Manufacturing suffers from an image problem and lack of access to youth.  Our strategy is to help manufacturers offer a continuum of industry exposure activities from job shadows, to company tours to paid internships in an effort improve the sector’s perception and encourage more young people to pursue careers in manufacturing.

Another frequent concern was the state of Career Technical Education (CTE) at the high school level.  There is the sense that CTE is not what it could be.  The Collaborative is working to bring industry and the right education system stakeholders together to produce a measureable and systemic impact that will raise the bar for the region’s manufacturing CTE programs.

Industry Exposure

MFG Day 2014

MFG Day is a growing grassroots movement of manufacturers dedicated to improving awareness and public perception of manufacturing careers and manufacturing’s value to the U.S. economy. The Collaborative is joining with education and industry partners to coordinate a series of tours for area high school students at manufacturing worksites on Friday, October 3, 2014.

Over the next decade, it is projected the manufacturing sector in the Portland/Vancouver region will need to replace more than 30,000 workers. In general, students, their parents, and teachers are not aware of the high-demand, high-wage, high-skill jobs that modern manufacturing represents. MFG Day is an effort to change this perception.


Youth Internships

youth imagePutting young people to work is about more than a paycheck. There is no better place to learn the skills necessary to be successful at work than at work itself. Youth who work are more likely to return to school, have a job in subsequent years, and earn more money over the course of their lives. They are also less likely to engage in crime and other high-risk behaviors.  The Collaborative works to link young people to structured work experiences and support manufacturers in cultivating their future workforce.



BizConnect is a tool that connects businesses and schools to help students become better prepared to enter tomorrow’s workforce. The online database facilitates career exploration activities for students by matching them with area business volunteers.  To date, 22 area schools and 12 community partners use BizConnect to provide career-related learning experiences for their students and 373 business volunteers participate.


Regional CTE Advisory Board  

In February 2014, the Collaborative formed the Regional Manufacturing CTE Advisory Board.  The purpose of the Board is to work collaboratively among industry, secondary, and post-secondary education to inform, strengthen and advocate for regional CTE programs.  Representatives include industry, CTE coordinators, elected officials, labor representatives and Collaborative staff.  Initial subcommittees are tasked with adopting regional performance standards for CTE and pursuing a CTE credit equivalency policy in Oregon.

Industry involvement is critical to engaging the next generation of workers and showing them what a career in manufacturing has to offer.  To learn more about any of the Collaborative’s youth activities and to get involved, please contact the Collaborative youth staff in your region.


Reese Lord                                     Chelsea Jackson                                 Amy Evans
Portland                                         SW Washington                                 Clackamas County
(503) 478-7340                              (360) 567-1066                                 (503) 657-6770


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