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PCC Honors Oregon Tradeswomen as “Employer Partners of the Year”

On April 11, 2018, nearly 100 people representing Portland Community College‘s (PCC) key employer partners gathered at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry for an early morning breakfast hosted by PCC. Three organizations were recognized as PCC’s Employer Partners of the Year: one small business (Blessing Landscapes), one large business (Intel Corporation), and one non-profit (Oregon Tradeswomen).

Marc Goldberg, associate vice president of Workforce Development and Continuing Education at PCC, stated:

“For PCC to effectively prepare its students for employment opportunities and careers in an ever-changing work environment, we need strong partnerships with local employers… The event was simply a means to thank our partners, whose input, support and guidance enables PCC to educate a skilled workforce — and this is what drives Oregon’s economy. PCC’s partnership with a variety of organizations, in many and varied configurations, enables the college to be a critical catalyst for the region’s economic success. All of us can stand to benefit from a thriving economy, and for that, we want to thank our partners.”

PCC staff spent a year and a half of planning and deliberation when considering which partners had the most impact on PCC students, graduates, and the communities to which they belong. Oregon Tradeswomen was selected in recognition of our partnership with PCC’s Swan Island Trades Center which offers programs in welding, machine manufacturing technology, and career pathways. Additionally, Oregon Tradeswomen’s Industrial Fabrication track (formerly known as “Women in Metals & Manufacturing” program) brings many women to PCC to advance their education in metal disciplines. Oregon Tradeswomen’s commitment to advancing equity in the trades has also influenced PCC’s partnership with Vigor and the Maritime Welding program where women are currently 50 percent of the students!

Oregon Tradeswomen staff: Abby Bandurraga, Pathways Program Manager (left) and Max Beyelia, Job Developer (right)

Amy James Neel, Oregon Tradeswomen’s Training Director, observed, “Our students tend to go off into a lot of different construction industries, some of which we are really well connected with, and some of which PCC helps us gain even better access to those connections. PCC has been able to bridge that divide for our pre-apprenticeship program, which prepares them for these entry-level jobs.”

Oregon Tradeswomen extends our deepest gratitude and appreciation to Portland Community College not only for this honor, but for being truly outstanding community partners!

Posted on by OTI Staff in About Oregon Tradeswomen, Community Partners | Leave a comment

Oregon Tradeswomen’s Executive Director Reflects on Women’s History Month

During the month of March in the United States, we officially celebrate women who’ve dedicated their lives to create a better future as “Women’s History Month”, tracing the event beginnings back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911.

We take this time to honor the many women in our nation’s history who fought for justice, equality, and equity, including Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Alice Paul. We honor our sisters in the labor movement who worked to ensure equal rights and equal pay in the workplace, such as Lucy Parsons, Mary Harris Jones, Leonora O’Reilly, Frances Perkins, Luisa Moreno, and Esther Peterson. We celebrate our sisters in more recent decades like Shirley Ware, Linda Chavez-Thompson, Mary Kay Henry, and others who continue to fight for our rights and for our future. We hold up the iconic symbol of our tradeswomen movement, Rosie the Riveter, reminding the world and ourselves, “We Can Do It!”.

Tradeswomen, 1981. © Bettye Lane

This month, Oregon Tradeswomen would like to take a moment to honor and acknowledge the incredible contributions tradeswomen make each and every day. Here in Portland, across our state, and throughout our nation, tradeswomen are still pioneers in industries like construction, transportation, manufacturing, and rail, working to care for their families and build our communities. Up early and home late, our sisters are not just working for a paycheck, they are working for change. They are active mentoring, volunteering, working in their unions, participating in committees, and serving as role models. They vote, they organize, they donate time, talent, and dollars to our tradeswomen movement to impact change. They raise their hands, their fists, and their voices. Yet often, our sisters are not heard.

In this era of #MeToo, we need to stand strong in our support of, and in solidarity with tradeswomen. For far too long, women working in our industry have experienced sexual harassment at an alarming rate, and often at great personal cost. According to a bipartisan 2016 report of the Co-Chairs of the EEOC Special Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, 88 per cent of female construction workers experience sexual harassment at work, compared to 25 per cent of women in the general workforce. Women leave the construction sector at a faster rate than their male colleagues, according to a 2014 report by the National Women’s Law Center – noting that in some trades, 70 percent of women leave before completing their apprenticeship training program, compared to 53 percent of men. The women who leave point to hostile work environments and sexual harassment as reasons for exiting.

At Oregon Tradeswomen, we are working to change our industry and create a different future – not just for women, but for all of our workforce. We know that when worksites are equitable and respectful, all workers benefit, not just women.  Industry benefits too – studies show a decrease in employee turnover, greater productivity, increased job satisfaction and loyalty, and overall improved performance. Our work includes the recent implementation of a new model for shifting jobsite culture, and is currently being implemented at the Multnomah County Courthouse project. This bystander intervention model is demonstrating promises outcomes in creating respectful worksites. It is providing tools for the construction workforce to speak up, speak out, and make a difference. We look forward to sharing more in the coming months on this model, and in the meantime, we ask you to join us in honoring tradeswomen not just this month, but every day.


Kelly Kupcak
Executive Director of Oregon Tradeswomen

Posted on by OTI Staff in Guest Blog, tradeswomen | Leave a comment

Waterleaf Architecture’s International Women’s Day Fundraiser for Oregon Tradeswomen

Our generous friends at Waterleaf Architecture are celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day like they did last year; by kicking off a fundraiser for Oregon Tradeswomen! You may have seen some of Waterleaf’s work at Lloyd Center as they were responsible for the much-needed facelift of the mall including the three story spiral staircase that was an homage to the original iconic spiral staircase from the mall’s opening in 1960.

Waterleaf has always been so supportive of our mission and wants to make sure that our  Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class has the proper equipment for students to hone their skills in preparation for their apprenticeships! To participate in Waterleaf Architecture’s fundraiser, you can donate here! And don’t forget to mention Waterleaf in the “How did you hear about us?” section when making your donation so that they can track their fundraising goal. The fundraiser started on International Women’s Day, March 8th.

We send our deepest gratitude to Waterleaf Architecture for their ongoing support of our mission!



Posted on by OTI Staff in Community Partners, Support OTI | Leave a comment

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