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Looking Ahead to 2018!

As we begin 2018, Oregon Tradeswomen would like to thank our industry and community partners and supporters. Each of you contribute to changing the lives of the women we serve, and we are grateful for all that you do.

With your support, we are building our capacity to reach and serve more women each day.  In 2017 we provided more than 1,000 women with career education and support to pursue a career in skilled trades in construction and manufacturing.

Because of your commitment, support, and generosity, Oregon Tradeswomen was able to provide 159 women with industry skills training, hundreds of women with job placement, access to registered apprenticeship, career counseling, supportive services, advocacy, and leadership development. Our work – with your support – ensured that women were able to move themselves and their families out of poverty and into prosperity.  They have gained skills and confidence and community.  They have been able to build a career and a future and a sisterhood.  Thank you for making all of these things and more a reality for women in the Portland region and across Oregon.

As we begin this New Year, Oregon Tradeswomen invites you to continue to support our work, and to join us as we think and dream and do – bigger and bolder.

We have big changes underway – including the development of a three-year strategic plan, revamping of our decade old pre-apprenticeship training program, and expanding services. We are raising money to purchase our own building where we will house a training workshop, community space, on-site childcare, and low-income housing.  We are building an advocacy platform to ensure positive changes for women and industry at the local, state and national level are realized.  We are developing a mentoring program, expanding our services to rural communities and engaging new partners.

We invite you to join us as we build this vision and our future for the women, industry and community we serve.

With gratitude,

Kelly Kupcak, Executive Director



Posted on by OTI Staff in About Oregon Tradeswomen, Community Partners, Support OTI | 1 Comment

Oregon Tradeswomen Honored With PCC Community Partner Award

Last night, Oregon Tradeswomen was honored with Portland Community College’s (PCC) first ever community partner award for a partnership with a non-profit organization.

PCC recognized three categories of partnership: non-profit, small business, and large business. At the dinner, PCC President Mark Mitsui introduced us, spoke about our partnership, and how we were one of their strongest employers who guide curriculum and give the support that allows PCC to educate and train a skilled workforce. President Mitsui then introduced the small business partner, Rebecca (Gillenwater) Smith of Blessing Landscape. As soon as they introduced her she professed, “I’m also a grad of Oregon Tradeswomen!” and the whole room cheered with excitement!

Rebecca (Gillenwater) Smith went through our pre-apprenticeship training program in 2009 and also graduated from PCC’s landscaping program. She worked in the field for a number of years and is now the landscape designer for PCC and has helped them win awards for their sustainability practices!

It was a thrilling convergence. Rebecca wanted to re-engage with Oregon Tradeswomen: she is actively looking to recruit Oregon Tradeswomen pre-apprenticeship graduates for her company and has been wanting to come and speak to students in our classes.

We are so humbled by this recognition and are also thrilled to see how our grads are positively impacting the community! Thank you PCC and keep up the good work, Rebecca!

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

Women on the Rise Awards

Women on the Rise award winners: Katie Kuchta, Isis Harris, Heather Mayther, and Carly Rush

On Thursday November 16, 2017 the whole country celebrated Women in Apprenticeship Day. This day is part of National Apprenticeship Week which was started during President Obama’s administration in 2015 as a call to action to increase the use of Registered apprenticeship to develop the skills of our nation’s workers and expand the talent pipeline available to U.S. Industries.

Heather Mayther, Left, with Amber McCoy, Representative Pacific Northwest Region Carpenters Institute

Aida Arranda, Apprenticeship Coordinator Oregon & S. Idaho Laborers with Katie Kuchta, and Dan Clark, General Superintendent, Skanska

While many organizations across the U.S. celebrated this year, Oregon Tradeswomen did something truly special. This year, we launched our 1st annual, “Woman on the Rise,” awards dinner. We asked four of our closest union apprenticeship partners in the Portland area to nominate four spectacular women apprentices in their program. These women are leaders, supporters of their community, and have shown excellence in their trade.

Kevin Roth, Training Coordinator Sheet Metal Institute, with Carly Rush

Carly Rush receives a hug from her proud daughter

In honor of these four award winners, Oregon Tradeswomen hosted a several course meal with the women, their friends, families, and apprenticeship coordinators to celebrate their achievements. Each apprenticeship representative spoke about their honoree with presentations and custom videos. We were also joined by Steve Simms from the state of Oregon’s Office of Apprenticeship, who gave a moving speech about the importance moving beyond just tolerance of women in the trades, to truly accepting women into these non-traditional fields.

Keith Edwards, IBEW Local 48 Member, Isis Harris, Pat Daniels of Constructing Hope, and Donna Hammond, IBEW Local 48 Member

Donna Hammond is ready to surprise Isis Harris with a bouquet of flowers

The quote of the night belongs to Donna Hammond from IBEW Local 48 who said,

“There is going to be hard work at every job, but do you want to do it for minimum wage or thirty-five dollars an hour?”

Special thanks to Oregon Tradeswomen staff member, Emma Brennan, who handmade toolboxes foe each of the award winners!

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

3934 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. #101  |  Portland, Oregon 97212  |   phone: 503.335.8200  |  fax: 503.249.0445

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