“Mentorship is incredibly important. It’s also a great support network. Mentorship opens doors that sometimes aren’t accessible. You never know how a mentor is going to help you get to the next step, whatever that looks like to you.”
Kristi Grassman is a brilliant and successful person who is full of knowledge and experience in the world of the trades. Kristi is the director of the Construction Center of Excellence and has a strong understanding of the construction industry’s needs and the importance of mentorship within that context. “In my role, I am an extension of the state board for community and technical colleges in Washington state. I represent all 34 community and technical colleges in the state of Washington. As a broker and a convener, my role is to bring together education and industry to ensure that the workforce pipeline meets the industry’s needs. Part of that is to ensure a flow of entrants into the construction industry and retention of workers in the trades.”
“What I love about the skilled trades is the fact that there are choices, especially within this career pathway of college, apprenticeship, whatever training mechanism is the best fit.”
Kristi has had many incredible experiences in her life that have brought her to where she is now. She started her career in workforce development on the job seeker side. She advised at-risk youth, dislocated workers, adults who had been laid off, the homeless, and low-income people. Kristi was the one to help put all of life’s puzzle pieces together. “I believe that we are all created with a skill set, and if we know what that skill set is, we will be fulfilled and happy in our career pathway.” She later had an opportunity to step into a project management role with the Constructions Skill Panel. This was her entry point into the world of construction.
“Relationship is key in the transfer of knowledge.”
Mentorship plays a huge part in retaining new workers in the construction trade. “Often, in my experience working with apprenticeship programs, there are journey workers who are very good at the trade that they’ve learned but don’t always know the best ways to communicate and train their mentees or apprentice. This is where Mentorship Matters comes into play as a part of the glue for retention in the construction industry and helping shape the culture of the job site. When someone feels valued and respected, they will then communicate more effectively. And it goes both ways, for a mentee and a mentor.”