Aida Aranda is the Training Director of the Oregon and S. Idaho Laborers-Employers Training Trust. She was elected to the Board of Directors of the Portland Workforce Alliance in June 2021. 

 “I think it’s wonderful what your organization does,” she told the board when joining. “I’ve been involved just in the Expo part of it [until now]. I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can do to impact what the organization does for our community.”

As training director, Aida oversees the activities, instructors and trainees of the training centers. She has had multiple leadership roles as a construction craft laborer and trade worker with over a decade of experience in the field.

Below are Aida’s thoughts on jobs, careers and joining PWA. 

What is the best career advice you have ever received?

“It is difficult to choose!  This one has stayed with me: ‘Don’t be afraid to try something new, give yourself a chance and it will open many doors.’ That was said to me by a superintendent I worked for when I was offered a position with my local union.” 

What is a memorable job you had as a young person?

“I worked for the health department one summer for the (WIC) Women, Infants & Children.  It opened my eyes to how important social service programs are as a safety net for our vulnerable community members who are in hardship, and what a life changing difference it makes for those who need it.” 

What did you learn in high school about work? 

“As a high school student, I saw limited options for careers: either college or military service or work for a local company like Intel. I never heard of apprenticeships or trade careers.” 

What draws you to PWA? 

“As the Training Director for the Oregon Laborers Training and Apprenticeship, we have participated in the PWA NW Youth Careers Expo for the last few years, including the Virtual Event held this year, and I am a strong supporter of this outreach event.  I believe that I can contribute to the mission of the PWA in both my personal and professional capacity. It is my hope that I can help build connections to apprenticeships and make career pathways to the trades an accepted, sought after and a highly regarded career option for all youth from every community.” 

Anything else you’d like to add?

“Apprenticeships should be a career track in our school and work system, as it is in many other developed countries including Canada, England, Germany, France, Switzerland, Denmark and more.  Apprenticeships have many advantages as a career pathway to skills not only in the building trades but in many other industries.  It should not be an option that few are lucky to learn about. Apprenticeships offer tremendous opportunities that are an untapped resource that offer pathways to employment, and economic and social equity.  I hope the PWA platform allows me the support and network needed to expand opportunities for all youth.” 


Meet a PWA Board Member: Aida Aranda