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April 3, 2015

Matt Kriz is Political Director at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District. He is also a member of SDWP’s Workforce Investment Board. Here he describes what motivated him to join the WIB and the workforce issues he is most passionate about.

SDWP: What motivated you to join the WIB?

Kriz: I was encouraged to join the WIB by leaders I work with at the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council and San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. I am a proud member of PAT Local 831 Tradeshow and Sign Crafts. My current role as the Political Director for the Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36 keeps me very involved in our community. Many people hear you say “painters and allied trades” and immediately think you are a painter, but there are actually five trades encompassed within the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades: painters, drywall finishers, glaziers, resilient floor layers, and tradeshow and sign crafts, which provides a high level of variety and solidarity within the group. 

Making positive impacts throughout San Diego County requires inspiring people to get involved and that includes working with politicians, developers, contractors and community groups. Being involved with the WIB is exciting and inspirational because we are creating avenues for people to realize the American dream—being productive and earning a living. The bonus is that we get to live in San Diego. I have had the benefit of working in a number of different parts of the United States and I have to say that San Diego has a unique ability to work together and make life better for everyone here. Sure there are differences of opinions, but I have found that people in San Diego tend to look beyond their personal views. Most are willing to negotiate to a point where everyone walks away with something positive. It might not be everything they wanted, but it will be something better than it was before. Another observation I’ve made is that San Diego encourages innovative thinkers—they have a vision and they find support. The San Diego Workforce Partnership is one of those innovative entities and I am honored to be a part of their work.

SDWP: What issues are you most passionate about as they relate to workforce development?

Kriz: Helping to provide options for individuals who are motivated to pursue careers that do not necessarily require a college degree. For decades now our public schools have been so focused on making students college bound and because of that our industrial arts programs have become virtually non-existent. As a newer member to the WIB, I am hopeful that I can utilize my knowledge, experience and relationships to help positively impact the emerging workforce in San Diego. From what I have seen thus far there are a number of innovative employers and programs that are reaching out and successfully enriching lives and I am excited to join that team.

SDWP: Tell a brief story about a person, event or project that you were involved with that underscored your passion for these issues. 

Kriz: As a Trustee with the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council, I have been involved with distribution and implementation of the new Multi-Craft MC3 pre-apprenticeship curriculum in San Diego. Helping distribute materials that will assist young adults working toward rewarding careers in construction trades is very gratifying. While working on this project I have been exposed to two awesome programs—the Sustainable Academy of Building & Engineering (SABE) at Herbert Hoover High School in San Diego and the Trade Tech High School in Vista. Trade Tech High is a charter school with a mission to graduate students with a strong blend of academic and workforce competencies necessary for future success in post-secondary education and in the building and construction industry. Both of these schools are reaching out to our youth in innovative ways to help make the connections between their education and career opportunities.

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