Friday Transportation Seminar: Retention of a Diverse Construction Workforce

Friday, October 15, 2021, 11:30am to 12:30pm PDT
Maura Kelly, PSU
Free and open to the public
PDH: 1 | AICP: 1

Friday Transportation Seminars at Portland State University have been a tradition since 2000. You can join us online at 11:30 AM.



Having a strong pipeline of workers will be critical for ongoing efforts to improve transportation infrastructure, such as roads, highways, and bridges. This talk first provides an overview of the recruitment and retention of a diverse construction workforce in Oregon. Next are findings from research studies over the last ten years demonstrating the challenges experienced by workers on construction job sites that lead to low retention levels. The talk concludes with a discussion of several initiatives within the construction trades that have been implemented to address job site culture.


  • Addressing recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce will be needed to ensure a robust pipeline of workers in the transportation workforce
  • Job site culture has a negative impact on retention as well as productivity and safety
  • Efforts by public agencies and contractors can improve job site culture


Maura Kelly, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Portland State University

As a public sociologist, Maura Kelly researches inequalities in the construction trades and advocates to increase opportunities for women and people of color in the trades. Her evaluation research with Dr. Lindsey Wilkinson has assessed a variety of programs intended to increase the recruitment and retention of diverse workers in the trades, including the Highway Construction Workforce Development Program, Green Dot for the Trades, Oregon Tradeswomen and Constructing Hope pre-apprenticeship programs, Mentorship Matters, and City of Seattle Acceptable Work Sites.


This 60-minute seminar is eligible for 1 hour of professional development credit for AICP (see our provider summary). We can provide an electronic attendance certificate for other types of certification maintenance.


Photo by kzenon/iStock

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The Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University is home to the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI), and other transportation programs. TREC produces research and tools for transportation decision makers, develops K-12 curriculum to expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce, and engages students and professionals through education.