PlanGrid Construction Productivity Blog

Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute chooses PlanGrid to prepare the construction industry for tomorrow

PNCI and PlanGrid partner to close the skills gap by bringing more training and technical education to the trades

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 147,000 unfilled construction jobs in the U.S., and that number just keeps growing. Meanwhile, the average age of U.S. construction workers is 42 years old. At this rate, when the older generations retire, there won’t be a steady pipeline of people ready to replace them — soon enough, we’ll have more projects to build, and less people to build them.

Today, millennials are encouraged to pursue college rather than a trade apprenticeship. The common perception of construction is that it’s just hammers and nails, and the process of building hasn’t changed in 60 years.

This is an image that the Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute (PNCI) is working hard to change.

People don’t typically associate really cool technology with construction projects, but the reality is that today, the adoption of technology on construction projects is revolutionizing the industry. The power of software applications like PlanGrid are creating jobsite efficiencies that just didn’t exist five years ago.

–Michael Hawes, Executive Director, PNCI

PlanGrid increases jobsite efficiencies, helping carpenter teams boost their productivity. Put simply, if more projects use construction software like PlanGrid, the industry will be more likely to keep up with demand and build more, faster — even with fewer people available to do the work.

PNCI — the premier educational institution in Oregon, Southwest Washington, and Southern Idaho for carpenters and the affiliated trades — recognizes the value of construction technology and its potential to dramatically boost industry productivity, but is also acutely aware of the current worker shortage. As a result, they’ve partnered with PlanGrid to train craftspeople across Oregon and Southwest Washington.

If you’re tech savvy, like the idea of working with your hands, and you’re interested in being part of the new generation of craftspeople, you should take a close look at the carpenter trade as a profession. These are top paying jobs — even as an mid-level apprentice carpenter you can make $27 per hour, plus great benefits.

–Michael Hawes, Executive Director, PNCI

L-R: Miguel Montaño, Training Coordinator, and Michael Hawes, Executive Director (photo: Jesse Dodds)

As part of their partnership with PlanGrid, PNCI receives customized, one-on-one training, course materials, and direct access to PlanGrid’s AEC experts. PlanGrid’s Consulting team regularly certifies PNCI teachers to train their students on the software using a ‘train the trainer’ system. And they’re making sure PlanGrid is being used both in the classroom and in real-life scenarios, with five new 55-inch touchscreen TVs being installed in the practical training areas.

At PNCI, students move seamlessly between real-world and digital tools — just like they’ll be doing on the jobsite of the future.

PNCI isn’t just making the upcoming construction workforce more productive — they’ve also taken an enlightened approach to getting more people in the trades, to begin with. In 2011, they had 460 apprentices — this year, there are over 1200. And they’re not just looking for young men. Women, minorities, and LGBTQ people are being strongly encouraged to apply.

One of PNCI’s posters, designed to encourage women and minorities to join the trades.

PNCI also takes pride in promoting a positive jobsite culture — to this end, they’re developing a comprehensive training program that will include a segment on unconscious bias, to help make the industry a more welcoming place for the new, diverse generation of professional carpenters. Their Carpenter Trades Preparation program — an in-house, pre-apprenticeship program partially funded by PNCI, the Oregon Department of Transportation, and Work Systems — is designed to help women and minorities prepare for a career in the construction industry

Jen Netherwood, Journeylevel Carpenter and instructor at PNCI (photo: Jesse Dodds)

PNCI also provides direct entry for veterans, former inmates, and at-risk youths through their community-based partnerships, while also recruiting through the Oregon Department of Transportation. Every month, they hold a kids workshop, where budding builders aged 5–12 learn about tools and tape measures and build small projects.

PNCI’s mission statement and core values

PNCI is committed to boosting the number of professional grade carpenters in the Pacific Northwest, training to the highest standards, and equipping their members and apprentices with the skills needed for a long, successful future in the construction industry — including the use of technologies like PlanGrid.


If you are a journey-level craft worker in the Pacific Northwest and would like to learn more about how to increase your skills and knowledge, don’t hesitate to contact PNCI. To learn more about a partnership with PlanGrid, reach out to our consulting team at consulting@plangrid.com.

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