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OTI’s Next Executive Director: Kelly Kupcak

Thank you for all of your well-wishes, congratulations, and other kind words when we announced OTI founder and Executive Director, Connie Ashbrook’s, forthcoming retirement last October.

We are pleased to tell you that Oregon Tradeswomen’s Board of Directors has hired OTI’s next Executive Director.

Kelly Kupcak, from Chicago Women in Chicago Women in Trades, will take the reins of Oregon Tradeswomen on July 10, 2017. She brings more than two decades of nonprofit management experience to her new role as Executive Director of Oregon Tradeswomen.

Kelly holds a fundamental belief that economic equity and gender inclusion are critical to building strong women, strong families, and strong communities. Kelly brings considerable skills in strategic visioning, collaborative leadership, and outcomes-driven planning, and looks forward to expanding OTI’s impact in workforce development and building diversity in Oregon’s construction trades workforce.

From Left:  Sharon Latson (Chicago Women in Trades), Kelly Kupcak (OTI’s Incoming Executive Director), Melissa Jennings (Volunteer), and Olivia Porter (Volunteer)

Most recently, Kelly served as the Director of Technical Assistance for the National Center for Women’s Equity in Apprenticeship and Employment at Chicago Women in Trades. She managed a highly competitive, multi-year U.S. Department of Labor ten-state regional grant-funded initiative and a U.S. Department of Labor contract, national in scope, to improve outcomes for women in nontraditional sectors through technical assistance to industry partners including employers, registered apprenticeship, workforce system, career technical system, and government entities.

Connie will continue to be involved with national policy by serving as co-chair of the Taskforce on Tradeswomen Issues and conducting training, providing technical assistance and other consulting services to help employers, apprenticeship programs, unions, and government agencies diversify their workforces, and assisting Career and Technical Education (CTE) trade programs to attract and retain more women and girls.

Kelly plans to visit the 25th Women in Trades Career Fair on May 19 and 20, 2017, and she will officially start in her new role with Oregon Tradeswomen on Monday, July 10, 2017. Kelly looks forward to meeting you soon, whether at the Women in Trades Career Fair or another event later in the year.


Read more about Kelly from Stephanie Basalyga, Editor of the Daily Journal of Commerce:

Posted on by OTI Staff in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thank you to Rovente Pizzeria!


Here at OTI we love Rovente Pizzeria! Their kind staff has generously agreed to work with our small budget to provide delicious pizza for our  quarterly speed mentoring events.

In early May, our current Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class students and 13 tradeswomen who came straight from work to share their wisdom about the construction trades industry came hungry, but everyone was happy and full by the end of the night!

We are so grateful to community members like the folks at Rovente Pizzeria who provide us with such generous support! Thank you so much!



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

TACC Field Trip to the Operating Engineers Training Center!


On Wednesday, April 12th, OTI’s current group of Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class students had a fabulous field trip to the Operating Engineers training center! The students heard from Brenda Bartholomew, who was an operator and is now an instructor at the training center. The students were also shown a short film that focused on the portrayal of female Operating Engineers who work in the industry and on what they love about the work they do.

Students had the opportunity to look at the text books and some of the survey equipment used by operating engineer apprentices in the classroom and afterwards they got to try their hand at operating some of the heavy machinery; including 2 cranes, loaders, and a forklift, among other pieces of equipment. Current apprentices had the opportunity to teach our students how to operate the machinery and gave our students lots of time to ask questions. It was awesome to see students teaching students! Before this field trip most of the students had not considered a career as a Heavy Equipment Operator and they now consider it an option. Needless to say, our students had a great experience on this field trip and have given a lot of positive feedback. Special thanks to the Operator Engineers Training Center staff and apprentices for taking the time to help our students learn about another great option for a career in the construction trades!

Posted on by OTI Staff in Apprentice, Community Partners, Heavy Equipment Operator, Pre-Apprenticeship, TACC, tradeswomen | Leave a comment

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