Accessing Union Apprenticeships Conference

November 4, 2022

Accessing Union Apprenticeships is a free, engaging conference for all education, industry and community stakeholders who are interested in providing access to high-wage, high-skilled, high-demand careers in the building trades.

“My favorite part was the time for collaboration with educators, industry, and community-based organizations. It’s rare to have all three in a room talking about how we can help students.”
2022 Attendee
Professional Learning Coach
“I liked seeing all the possibilities for my students. All the staff I interacted with were great! This makes it much easier for me to explain what the programs are like to my students.”
2022 Attendee
"The most eye opening part of the event was the panel at the end. They gave good insight and shared their stories. I loved the diverse representation of different paths people took to get to their careers."
2022 Attendee
  • Tour metro-area union apprenticeship training centers
  • Engage in hands-on trades breakout sessions
  • Take applied learning lessons plans back to the classroom
  • Network with industry and apprenticeship partners
  • Meet apprentices and hear their real-world stories
  • Learn what an ideal trades candidate looks like
  • Gain an understanding of apprenticeship and how it changes lives
  • Find out how you can support youth into entering these high wage, high demand careers
Email with questions.

Thank you to the sponsors who made this
event possible!


Morning Plenary
LiUNA Laborer’s Training Center, 17242 NE Sacramento St, Portland, OR 97230
7:45 AM Registration– pick up your color-coded name tag and swag bag
Breakfast and Opening Remarks – Aida Aranda, LiUNA Training Director
Portrait of a Tradesperson – Isis Harris, IBEW Local 48 Journey Inside Electrician
Connecting Diverse Students to High Quality Careers in the Trades – Kelly Haines and Janine Weir
9:25 AM Meet your tour group at the designated pick-up area (Blue group can remain in the auditorium)

Tours and Breakout Sessions – register for the group tour of your choice:

Visit the Sheet Metal Institute & the Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute

9:45      Sheet Metal Institute Tour and one Breakout Session:

11:10       Informational Lunch (provided)
12:00     Shuttle bus to Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute
12:15       Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute Tour and one Breakout Session:
1:45     Shuttle bus returns to LiUNA Laborer’s Training Center


Visit the LiUNA Laborer’s Training Center & the Sheet Metal Institute

9:45      LiUNA Laborer’s Training Center Tour and one Breakout Session:

11:10       Informational Lunch (provided)
12:00     Shuttle bus to Sheet Metal Institute
12:15       Sheet Metal Institute Tour and one Breakout Session:
1:45     Shuttle bus returns to LiUNA Laborer’s Training Center



Visit the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center & the LiUNA Laborer’s Training Center

9:45     NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center Tour and one Breakout Session:

11:10       Informational Lunch (provided)
12:00     Shuttle bus to LiUNA Laborer’s Training Center
12:15       LiUNA Laborer’s Training Center Tour and one Breakout Session:

Visit the Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute & the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center

9:45     Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute Tour and one Breakout Session:

11:10       Informational Lunch (provided)
12:00     Shuttle bus to NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center
12:15       NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center Tour and one Breakout Session:
1:45     Shuttle bus returns to LiUNA Laborer’s Training Center

Plenary Sessions

Afternoon Plenary
LiUNA Laborer’s Training Center, 17242 NE Sacramento St, Portland, OR 97230
2:00 PM Constructing a Diverse Workforce in Oregon with Mark Brenner
2:45 PM Pre-Apprentice and Apprentice Panel
3:30 PM Door Prize Raffle (be present to win!)
Portrait of a Tradesperson with Isis Harris

Keynote: Connecting diverse students to high quality careers in the trades with Kelly Haines and Janine Weir
Janine Weir and Kelly Haines will speak to the partnership in Beaverton School District to build out a magnet Construction Trades program for diverse students in the region. Working directly with union apprenticeship programs in the building trades and the carpenters, this program’s curriculum was directly designed with input from industry experts, including providing guidance on how to remodel and overhaul the physical space and ensure a robust process to connect middle and high school students into registered apprenticeship and be set up for success. By directly connecting with industry, this program is highly responsive to the training and employment needs of contractors and helps to ensure relevance in all aspects of the classroom instruction.

Constructing a Diverse Workforce in Oregon with Mark Brenner

This workshop will give participants a progress report on how Oregon’s registered apprenticeship programs are doing when it comes to recruiting and retaining a more diverse workforce. We’ll look at how women and workers of color fare in different construction apprenticeship programs, what factors are pushing them out of the trades, and what can be done to ensure historically under-represented groups find success in apprentice programs and long-term careers in the industry.

Pre-Apprentice and Apprentice Panel, moderated by Angie Gilbert
Meet and hear from pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship program participants to learn how they learned about apprenticeship, why they got involved with apprenticeship and what they’ve gained from their experiences on their way to becoming a journeyman in their trade.

Breakout Sessions

Apprenticeship 101 with Loren Burnham

This session will provide an overview of Oregon’s apprenticeship system and program operation from applicant to completion.

Apprenticeship vs College (or both?) with Dawn Loomis

No longer does a person have to choose between college or an apprenticeship. Learn how apprentices earn college credit while completing an apprenticeship. Discover what degrees an apprentice can earn – DEBT-FREE.

Building a Sustainable Workforce Through Youth Pre-apprenticeship moderated by Lorne Bulling

Through a panel discussion with some of Oregon’s Youth Pre-Apprenticeship Program providers, get a roadmap for what it takes to build a successful and sustainable pre-apprenticeship program that will lead your students towards high-wage, high-skilled, high-demand career opportunities in the trades.

Creative Ways to Bring Trades Careers to K–8 Students with Lisa Klingsporn

How can you bring awareness of trades careers to K-8 students? This session will provide four different experiences to build awareness of trades careers (and other careers as well) for K-8 students.

Explore the Carpentry Trades | Carpenters with Chopper Smart

Pick up tools and participate in several skill building activities from PNCI’s pre-apprenticeship program. You’ll learn to use a hammer efficiently, operate a screw gun ergonomically and how to drill straight holes. CTE teachers might find an idea to use in their shop or appreciate the Tool Safety & Operation Checklists we will share.

Fabricating Conduit Runs with Trigonometry | Electricians with Laura Benedict

Electrical conduit provides a protected pathway for electrical conductors as they are routed from point A to point B. Learn how electricians use trigonometry every day to create the art form that is the pride of the electrical industry.

You will practice some basic conduit bending and walk away with the sample you do in class and a lesson plan so you can recreate the experience for your students. Enter the raffle for a chance to win the tools and materials needed for your class!

Introduction to Environmental Remediation | Laborers with Ryan Leffell

Be Amazed & Have Fun! Apply STEM in hands-on instruction and simulated real-world application in a safe controlled environment. Get a picture* of how students get the skills and tools needed to solve problems and be part of the solution in cleaning up our communities and helping create healthier environments for all of us!
*Photo booth op in HAZMAT suits! Create a postcard to promote STEM & Environmental Remediation Trade Careers!  Take away a STEM Lesson plan related to construction environmental remediation.

Not Just Another Brick in the Wall | Bricklayers with Jana Ashton

Have you ever wondered how those brick walls always look so straight and uniform?
Well come and learn how Math and Measuring make it possible. You can also try laying some brick for yourself.  Come prepared to get a little messy and learn about one of the world’s oldest crafts.

Increasing Opportunity for Oregon Learners: Career Connected Learning, Work Based Learning and Pre-Apprenticeships with Beth Molencamp and Brandie Clark

In this session, we will explain the newly developed system of Career Connected Learning in Oregon and the many resources and activities available to students, schools, and industry partners. Explore how Career Connected Learning, including Work-Based Learning, in a CTE Program of Study helps students explore careers in the trades.
Share how industry partners can support efforts to help prepare students for successful careers.

Oregon State Registered Pre-Apprenticeship Training Programs moderated by Aida Aranda

Local Pre-Apprenticeship Program representatives will provide detailed information on their specific programs and answer questions.

Riding Trowel Machines 101 | Cement Masons with Jeremy Kendall

We will be using our new Virtual reality riding trowel machine to let students get an introduction to safety, operation and basic techniques.

What is a Sheet Metal Worker? with Ben Wood

We will be giving a presentation on what Sheet Metal workers do and have a discussion about wages, benefits, apprenticeship specifications, and trade entry.  We will give a tour of our facility and finish off with a project.

Yes, video games can help you find a rewarding career in the trades | Operating Engineers  with  Nathan Stokes

Immerse yourself in the world of heavy equipment operating by running a high-tech computer that simulates real world construction techniques and operations.  Hoisting work (cranes) and excavation work (excavator, loader, dozer) are just a few of the pieces of equipment available for an introduction to the world of heavy equipment operating.

Aida Aranda, Training Director, Oregon & S. Idaho Laborers Training and Apprenticeship
Aida photo I have been working with the Oregon Laborers’ registered apprenticeship program for 15 years and hold a 25-year membership with the Laborers International Union of North America. I am a Construction Craft Laborer (CCL) by trade and a subject matter expert. I consider Registered Apprenticeship to be my personal and professional passion and am always excited to promote Union Construction trade apprenticeships and the fantastic career opportunities they offer equally to anyone who is willing to learn and work hard. I have worn many different hats in my work, but my all-time favorite is still my hard hat.
Angie Gilbert, School-to-Career/Trades Coordinator, Reynolds Learning Academy (RLA)
Angie Gilbert headshot (2) RLA is a small high school in East Multnomah County with a diverse population of students and a demonstrated record of providing successful post-secondary connections to students for apprenticeship application and apprenticeship program completion. I have successfully run one of the few Youth Pre-Apprenticeship programs in Oregon for the past 18 years and believe deeply in apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship as a tool to lead students out of poverty and into high-wage, high-demand, high-skilled careers.
Ben Wood, Training Coordinator, Sheet Metal Institute
Ben Wood Ben started out his career at the Sheet Metal Institute in 2017 as an instructor. In January of this year, they promoted him to Training Coordinator. In his new role, he wears many hats. His overall responsibility is to work with the staff to keep things running smoothly and provide the best apprenticeship education possible for the contractors and Sheet Metal Local 16. Ben works with the instructors updating the curriculum. This includes incorporating new technologies into the training and managing the needs of the apprentices for certifications and upgraded classes. A big part of Ben’s job includes outreach. He represents SMI at career fairs and trade awareness events throughout the region. As an on-staff Certified Welding Instructor, he manages the welding department to maintain SMI’s accredited testing facilities.
Beth Molencamp, Career Connected Learning Coordinator, Oregon Department of Education
molenkamp Beth supports the work between ODE and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission in the creation of a network of Career Connected Learning System Navigators to support all students, PreK- Community College, in achieving their career goals. As a former CTE educator, CTE regional coordinator and college administrator she is well aware of the need to create seamless pathways for students that lead to high wage and fulfilling careers. Watching her father complete his electrician’s apprenticeship while she was a child showed the value of multiple pathways to rewarding careers.
Brandie Clark, Work-Based Learning Specialist, Oregon Department of Education
Clark Brandie supports local school districts, education service districts, and community colleges in implementing work-based learning opportunities as part of a Career and Technical Education Programs of Study. She serves as a liaison between the Oregon Department of Education, the Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI), and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC). Brandie is committed to our shared growth in promoting equitable opportunities for all students in Oregon to find their career path.
Dawn Loomis, Director, Workforce, Apprenticeship & Community Education
Dawn Loomis Dawn Loomis has been working with the apprenticeship training centers for 6 years. She has presented to many classes/schools about the benefits of union apprenticeship as well as helped many people navigate the system to enter an apprenticeship. The union trades are an excellent career opportunity especially for those who prefer applied coursework and are hands-on learners. I've seen many people that have thrived in a union apprenticeship environment when typical school has failed them in the past.
Danny Van Voorhis, Construction Career Coach, Portland YouthBuilders
danny van voorhis Danny Van Voorhis has more than fourteen years of experience working with diverse populations of disadvantaged youth in the classroom and with placement and retention support, including positions at PYB, New Avenues for Youth and Looking Glass. His experience includes advising students on academic and career goals, building student and industry relationships, curriculum development, and classroom management. Danny is a member of PYB’s Case Management team, which designs individual academic and career plans for students and assists them in addressing life barriers. Danny has a Masters in Education from the University of Oregon.
Isis Harris, NECA-IBEW Local 48 Inside Electrician
Isis Harris Isis Harris was born and raised in Portland Oregon. After completing Pre-Apprenticeship training with the Constructing Hope Pre-Apprenticeship Program, she decided on a career in a skilled trade seeking to become a Journeyman Electrician. She became an IBEW member in 2014 with IBEW Local 48 and entered the NECA-IBEW LEA Program in 2015, later transferring to the Inside Wireman Apprenticeship program in 2016. She recently graduated from the Local 48 NECA-IBEW Inside Wireman Apprenticeship Program, December 2021, becoming a Commercial and Industrial Electrician Licensed in both Oregon and Washington. Isis is also a Board Member with Oregon Tradeswomen, Quality Jobs Council Member, N/NE Action Plan Leadership Committee Member, Certified Forklift Instructor, Peer Recovery Mentor, Oregon Workforce Access Committee Member, Community Advocate, and Business Owner of 3v3ryday Grind LLC, a high visibility clothing company.
Jana Ashton, Journey Bricklayer and Foreman, Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1
Ashton - Shawn Lenczowski The reason I’m here today is to pass my knowledge on about the wonderful apprenticeship opportunities out there for young people. I was never informed about this excellent career path at the high school I went to. This career has given me the ability to raise a family, own a house and live very comfortably, along with having the security of a great future with little debt. For me I ended up working some dead end jobs with no benefits and going to take some college credits at a community college before learning about the brick apprenticeship at the age of 25. I wish I would have started this career right out of high school.
Janine Weir, High School Success Coordinator, Beaverton School District
weir Janine Weir has worked in academic program development for Beaverton School District for over 20-years. As an experienced innovator in public education, Janine is driven by a belief that schools must be a place of exploration and discovery that stretches beyond academics and serves as a hub for a community's social and economic health. A steadfast adherence to this philosophy has culminated in a number of successful programs in her district; including the BSD Construction Technology Program at Merlo Campus and BSD Trades Exploration Program aimed at introducing 7th - 10th grade students to the construction industry.
Jeremy Kendall, Apprenticeship Coordinator, O.R. & S.W. Washington Cement Masons & Plasterers Apprenticeship
48084097_10215212116711048_4934029142262808576_n - Jeremy Kendall I graduated from our apprenticeship program in 1997. Upon graduation I worked as a field hand, foreman, and in 2012 took over as the instructor for our program. In 2019 I was promoted to coordinator and have been running the apprenticeship. The reason I choose to be a part of this workshop is to give people an inside look into our craft and the benefits that come along with it. We provide free education, real world training with industry professionals and top tier pay, health benefits and retirement. I want to let everyone know you can be successful and make a great living in our craft regardless of who you are, as long as you will put in the effort.
Kelly Haines, Senior Construction/Infrastructure Sector Project Manager, Worksystems
kelly h Kelly joined Worksystems in 2016, working with industry leaders to develop a regional workforce plan for the construction trades. She also staffs the Metropolitan Alliance for Workforce Equity, a coalition made up of labor, community, training and contractor partners who work together to advance equity in the construction trades utilizing demonstrably successful tools such as the Community Benefits Agreement. Kelly has a background in workforce development and equity work in the residential energy efficiency sector, where she led the development and implementation of High Road workforce and contracting standards. She has a Bachelor's degree from Evergreen State College and a Masters of Urban Studies from Portland State University with a research focus on Social Sustainability. In her free time, Kelly loves to hang out in the Bridlemile neighborhood with her wife, kids and numerous pets as well as practice Praying Mantis Kung Fu and ride her bicycle.
Laura Benedict, Assistant Training Director, NECA/IBEW Electrical Training Center.
Laura Benedict My life changed the first day I started my career 23 years ago as an apprentice Electrician. Since then I’ve been able to accomplish more than I could imagine, working independently driving a service truck, obtaining my BS in Electrical Engineering, working as an Apprenticeship Instructor, and currently serving as Assistant Training Director at the NECA/IBEW Electrical Training Center. Not only do I get great satisfaction when turning on a switch for the first time and seeing the lightbulb turn on, but also seeing the light bulbs turn on in the minds of our many hardworking apprentices. Seeing their big smiles as they receive their journey level license and knowing all the opportunities ahead of them as they continue on with their electrical careers has been the best thing about my career.
Loren Burnham, Program Analyst 2, Bureau of Labor & Industry Apprenticeship & Training Division
I have been involved with apprenticeship for 20 years. For the last 11.5 years, I've been employed by the Apprenticeship and Training Division to provide technical assistance to apprenticeship programs and provide regulatory oversight. Prior to that, I was the VP of Membership & Education for ABC of Alaska and oversaw the operation of a multi-trade apprenticeship program with over 300 apprentices in 11 trades.
Lorne Bulling, Political Coordinator, Ironworkers Local 29
LB Headshot Lorne is the political coordinator for the Ironworkers Local Union 29. He began his political career in the Oregon State legislature for Speaker Dan Rayfield and later interned in Washington DC for Congresswoman Bonamici. In 2017, he joined a lobby firm, working on recruiting a more diverse group of apprentices for NECA/IBEW, and represented signatory contractors and various labor unions. At Local 29, he advocates for labor standards at the state and local level, and seeks to expand apprenticeship opportunities for all Oregonians.
Lisa Klingsporn, Strategic Business Partnerships Manager, Portland Public Schools’ CTE Department
LisaKlingsporn Since 1999, Lisa has been connecting businesses to schools/students/non-profits for a variety of experiences and projects. Lisa has a commitment providing students with valuable career information/experiences which enables them to make educated decisions regarding their futures. Lisa's family has strong ties to trades careers going back over 70 years.
Mark Brenner, Incoming Co-Director, Labor Education and Research Center
MB headshot 2018 Mark Brenner is Co-Director at the Labor Education and Research Center at the University of Oregon, based on the University's Portland campus. Before joining the LERC faculty in 2018, Mark served for many years as the Director for the Detroit-based non-profit Labor Notes, and is the author of many books, including the best-selling organizing manual Secrets of a Successful Organizer. Mark works extensively with unions and policy-makers across the Pacific Northwest, and his latest research is focused on the intersection of climate change policy and high road workforce and contracting standards, with a focus on the construction industry.
Nathan Stokes, Assistant Business Manager; Operating Engineers Local 701 and Chairman, JATC IUOE 701 & AGC Apprenticeship
nate-1 As an apprentice I had the opportunity to work for many different contractors. I was able to learn the ways in which different community members brought a part of their culture to their business and were able to bring their success home to their community. The importance of a healthy and equitable apprenticeship program cannot be understated, and I am proud that I live and work in a community that sees the value of these programs and works hard to ensure that they function in a way that promotes equity and ensures that everyone has a chance at success. For many in our community, apprenticeship opportunities in the construction industry represent the best, and most direct route, to lasting prosperity for a family and their community. There is a lot of work to be done to ensure that the construction industry is serving all community members in a way that ensures equity for all, It is my hope that I can bring my experience as an apprentice and a worker to this workshop to help ensure that construction projects build a foundation of equity for all, while we build the infrastructure for our future.
Ryan Leffell
Leffell I have more than 25 years of combined experience in the Environmental Remediation, Demolition, General Construction, and Safety fields. Throughout my career and particularly in the most recent 6 years with a focus on Occupational Health and Safety, I have found that many of the injury incidents and safety violations I have seen stem from workers that have either not received adequate training or have no training at all. I am very excited about the opportunity to get involved very early in the process of providing quality training to apprentices. This is the most powerful time to get them started on the path to a long, safe, and successful career in the trades. They in turn will become better-qualified journey workers that are passionate about their trade and able to share their knowledge and experience with the generations of apprentices that follow.
Steven "Chopper" Smart
smart As an instructor at the Pacific NW Carpenters Institute, Chopper teaches apprenticeship classes as well as Carpenter Trade Preparation, PNCI’s free pre-apprenticeship program. Chopper is a General Carpenter and active member of Local 1503. He loves working at heights. Some memorable projects from his time in the field include 50-million-gallon water tank towers with 12” concrete walls and working with the second biggest crane in Oregon on a Hillsboro data center.