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Despite Efforts To Diversify Workforce, Road Construction Can Be A Hostile Workplace


Despite efforts to diversify the highway construction workforce in Oregon, a new study finds that many women of color face harassment and discrimination in road-work.

Credit ODOT

The Portland State University study was commissioned by the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Labor and Industries. Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian says the state has been working to improve diversity through apprenticeships in road construction. He says more women of color are in training programs because of a supportive services program that helps with transportation, child care and other costs.

Brad Avakian: “At the same time, we know that between 60 and 70 percent of women are still facing discrimination and harassment on the job site and this is an area that we must focus on and alleviate.”

Avakian says discrimination is unacceptable in any workplace. He says as the aging road construction workforce retires, there will be more employment opportunities in the near future.


Copyright 2016 KLCC

Rachael McDonald is News Director at KLCC. She’s been with the station for more than 10 years. Previously, she established the Richland, Washington bureau for the Northwest News Network. She also worked as News Director at KAZU in Monterey, California. Rachael has won numerous awards for her reporting.