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Oregon Tradeswomen is Headed to Women Build Nations 2018!

Women Build Nations is an annual conference where more than 1,900 tradeswomen from around the globe, representing every craft, come together for a weekend of workshops, plenary sessions, and networking. Women Build Nations welcomes all women of all ages and skill levels to come build relationships, learn from each other, and be a part of the largest conference for tradeswomen in North America.

Group Travel

This year the conference is being held in Seattle, Washington, so Oregon Tradeswomen staff will be heading North for Women Build Nations as a group and we would like to ride with a tradeswomen contingent! Please join us on Friday October 12 on the 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm train. Amtrak is also offering a 10% discount, but you must call to make your reservation at 1-800-872-7245 using code X90H-999. For additional travel information and resources, please visit the Women Build Nations website.


Oregon Tradeswomen is happy to offer two scholarships for tradeswomen who want to attend Women Build Nations. If you’re interested, please send email to Tiffany Thompson at [email protected]. Scholarships are offered on a first come, first served basis. If you haven’t asked your union or employer to send you yet, now is the time to get it done! Women Build Nations has online resources to help you write a letter requesting sponsorship.

Women Build Nations is the biggest tradeswomen focused convention in North America and this year it is in our backyard. We hope to see you there this October!

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

Excitement Over Oregon Tradeswomen’s Annual Picnic and All Class Reunion!

On Sunday, August 12, 2018, from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, Oregon Tradeswomen is hosting our Annual Picnic at Creston Park in Southeast Portland, complete with food, games, camaraderie, and fun!

This year, the picnic will also serve as an all-class reunion where we hope to see dozens of tradeswomen who went through our Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class show up to represent! The class with the highest percentage of alum at the picnic will win a prize. There will be more opportunities for competition and prizes as we will be holding a cornhole contest where the top two winners will win a pair of Portland Thorns tickets!

We want to take a moment to shout out Las Primas, a fantastic woman-owned business, for catering our event with delectable Peruvian cuisine (We are so excited to indulge in their home-style churros)! An additional thank you goes out to IBEW’s Credit Union for preparing a picnic themed gift basket for the event!

The Annual Picnic is going to be a spectacular opportunity to come reconnect with classmates, network with tradeswomen, indulge in a splendid meal, and win prizes!

We hope to see you on Sunday, August 12th at Creston Park from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm!


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

Portland Metro Region Construction Workforce Market Study

Oregon Tradeswomen works to increase the number of women and people of color entering the skilled trades, but there are still significant barriers that make recruitment and retention of a challenge. A Workforce Market Study was jointly commissioned in January 2017 by The City of Portland and Metro, (Oregon regional governance and the only one in the nation), with the support of Oregon Tradeswomen, the National Association of Minority Contractors of Oregon (NAMCO),  Oregon Employment Department (OED), Portland State University (PSU), and Worksystems Inc. to learn more about how to invest in equitable growth through diversifying our workforce.

Why should we care about diversifying our workforce? The new report states, “Diversifying the construction workforce will not only help create a stronger supply of needed workers for the industry, it will also directly address issues of poverty and economic mobility within communities of color and working families in the region.” The construction industry is also in the midst of a labor shortage. Ideally, we can prepare women and minorities to be those ideal candidates to help fill the labor gap. It isn’t as easy as it seems, though, as the study identifies barriers that make recruitment and retention of these demographics a challenge.

The study outlined 9 main barriers that hinder recruitment and retention of women and minorities in the trades. Many trades jobs come from personal referral, say from a father or friend who is already in the industry. The study shows that women and minorities have less of these gateway experiences. This goes hand in hand with the fact that there are not many communities or social networks within the industry for women and people of color which minimizes the exposure someone from those communities might have to the trades. It was also found that marginalized communities face more hardships than others due to financial issues, child care, transportation, among other things that can stand in the way of them continuing their careers.

Although Oregon Tradeswomen does great work preparing women to join the construction workforce and gives them support throughout their careers, however, there are limits to our capacity to train students, primarily due to structural limitations as to when we can conduct training and offer hands-on experiences to build skills. More than 1,100 women seek our pre-apprenticeship training each year. The problem isn’t that women aren’t interested in a career in construction, but rather, we have a limited number of slots in each cohort. This is a common barrier among pre-apprenticeship and job-readiness programs.

Some of the other barriers that keep women and people of color from continuing a career in the trades are the outdated policies that shape noninclusive jobsite cultures where women and people of color experience sexist and racist attitudes. These policies can foster hostile work environments, poor-quality training for new workers (which then makes it harder for those workers to excel and advance), and fewer opportunities for promotion for women and people of color.

As a way to address the disparity in our region, the study outlined three goals:

  1. Increase recruitment of diverse workers
  2. Increase retention of diverse workers
  3. Develop more robust equity policy and practices

Each of the goals are broken down into action items such as “Ensure steady funding streams to increase capacity of pre-apprenticeship programs,” “Address construction job site culture through respectful workplace trainings with proven results,” and “Enforce contract goals with consequences of non-compliance.”

While there is much work to be done, this study clearly marks a path that we as a community, and hopefully one day as a country, can work towards. There are countless women and people of color who are willing and able to do good work in the construction industry and help fill the labor shortage, but it is the industry as a whole that needs to step up to properly set these workers up for success.

Read the full Portland Metro Region Construction Workforce Market Study.




Posted on by OTI Staff in Community Partners, Media Coverage of OTI, Pre-Apprenticeship, Public Policy | Leave a comment

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