Cameron Gales Profile
Could you introduce yourself and share a little of your background in the trades and in DEI work?
I’m the West Region Director of Social Economic Inclusion with Jacobs and I started my work in the DEI space over 10 years ago. When you work in the DEI space, you don’t go to college to ultimately do work in DEI. You can come from all different walks of life to do it. I have a governmental and political science background. I work with people who have environmental and planning backgrounds. The architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry allows for a variety of ways to get into the DEI space.
Can you describe your partnership and involvement with Avenue Scholars?
It’s been a two-way street with Avenue Scholars. I had the opportunity to work with them a few times; just recently I was able to come and speak to their Summer Boot Camp program. My experience is always enjoyable. The programs are always well-conducted, and the kids are very attentive, so it was a great opportunity for collaboration.
What are the current challenges and opportunities when it comes to diversity and the construction trades industry?
I think some of the current challenges are explaining to youth that the industry is not their grandparents’ industry. It’s still shovels and trucks, but it’s also drones and technology; it fits more with their generation’s interests in the future of work. It’s also great to share that it’s a high-paying, high-skilled industry; you can do well for yourself with some level of training in a trade, or go to school for bachelor’s in an area of AEC interest, and that last piece is simply a will to be successful.
How can the trades industry support and encourage diversity within the industry?
I think it’s important for any racial demographic to see themselves in a management role. Representation is very important in the industry. The best way we can encourage diversity is by allowing underrepresented populations to be seen as managers, directors, and CEOs. When looking for a company to intern with or work for, research their social equity or diversity and inclusion programs and make sure it’s a fit for what you’d like to see for the next generation.
What are your future hopes and goals for the construction trades industry?
As this country grows, as our buildings and infrastructure age and we look to rebuild, I’m hopeful that the demographics that are working to build this country the second time around are a strong representation of our country as it looks today. Not on the backs of indentured servitude or slavery or some kind of mechanism in that way. Instead, in a way we can all participate financially and truly benefit from it.
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