Tom Lemmon currently serves as the businesses manager of The San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council. In his role, Tom manages the day to day operations of the Council and acts as its spokesperson. Currently, 22 unions representing over 30,000 workers are affiliated with the Building Trades Council which exists to coordinate and harmonize the activities, functions, and interests of the affiliated unions. Here Tom tells us about his passion for workforce development.
Why are you passionate about workforce development?
For me, being passionate about workforce development is a no-brainer. I’ve seen it work firsthand. The reality is that I live it every day. I was afforded an opportunity to learn a trade and it was a life changer for me.
If you had $1M to donate to a workforce development program, what would you want done with it?
One of the biggest obstacles some people face is the ability to get to work – many construction sites aren’t located on public transit. I’d take $1 million and create a car bank for folks who get accepted into apprenticeship programs and lack transportation.
What do you like best about being on the Workforce Development Board?
I really like interacting with board members with such diverse and varied backgrounds; working together with the same goal of helping others reach their potential.
Why is workforce development important for San Diego County?
Well, this one I’m just gonna say it like it really is – too many employers don’t invest in their employees. They expect somebody else to. I wish it wasn’t the case, but that’s the reality. I come from a union background, and as such we self-fund our training programs and invest in the next generation. As part of my union’s collective bargaining agreement I, along with every other union member, have been putting a few cents of every dollar into a training trust that funds our apprenticeship program for nearly 40 years. That union training trust has not only paid for the training I’ve received, but everyone else from the first period apprentices, to journeymen to upgrade their training.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Life has shown me many paths and I’ve traveled as many as possible. But few things give me as much satisfaction as spending time with my family and friends.