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The Tradeswomen Leadership Institute facilitates leadership development, advocacy skills, and unity among all women (union, open shop, self-employed and otherwise) working in the building, construction, mechanical, utility, and highway trades.

2017 will mark the 10th annual Tradeswomen Leadership Institute, planned by Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. (OTI), with the support of University of Oregon’s Labor Education Research Center (LERC), and a dedicated committee of tradeswomen volunteers.

Saturday, September 9
8:00 am – 4:30 pm

Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute Training Center
4222 NE 158th Ave.
Portland OR 97230


There are three registration prices to accommodate varying levels of need and income. Please pay what you can. A portion of the standard $60 registration fee will be used to provide scholarships to other attendees, so if you are able, please register for the full amount.

$60 registration fee
$30 for OTI members (and those in need of a half off financial scholarship)
$10 registration fee available for participants in need of a financial scholarship*

Cost included instruction, materials, refreshments, and breakfast and lunch on Saturday.

*If any cost is prohibitive to you, please reach out to Megan at 503.335.8200 x 29.


Stipends to cover childcare are available to cover $40 per child. Limited funds available. Please contact Megan by September 1st to request a childcare stipend.

Workshops at TLI 2017

We are proud to announce that we will offer a special workshop available to all attendees titled, An Oral History of Tradeswomen Organizing. This workshop will be led by OTI Executive Director Emeritus, Connie Ashbrook, and other key tradeswomen movement builders and organizers.

Oral History of Tradeswomen Organizing

The original founders of Oregon Tradeswomen will share their stories of being early tradeswomen (two carpenters, an elevator constructor, and a cane operator.) They will talk about the early days of women in the trades and tradeswomen activism, and how the tradeswomen’s movement was influenced by the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Movement, and Gay Liberation Movement. They will talk about their growth as leaders, mentors, and activists, and key accomplishments. Participants in this workshop will reflect on their own stories and how they relate to the tradeswomen movement, including how they got into the trades, key accomplishments they are proud of, and how they have been influenced by current social movements.

Budgeting 101 and Accessing Support Services

As an apprentice, it can sometimes be difficult to afford and access quality childcare and other basic needs like food, housing, and utilities. This workshop will provide tools for effective household budgeting to help grow your bank account and prepare for emergencies. The workshop will also offer an in-depth overview of the types of supportive services available to apprentices and instruction for how to access and make the most out of these services. If eligible, assistance will be available for participants to apply for services during the workshop.

From Incarceration to Tradeswoman

Feeling lost, alone, stressed, overwhelmed? This workshop is aimed toward women who are newly released, previously incarcerated tradeswomen who are having a difficult time adjusting beyond the walls, and tradeswomen who seek a better understanding of their previously incarcerated sisters and want to become more supportive allies. Are you looking for understanding, acceptance, and input on how to make it in the trades? Whether you are coming from incarceration yourself or have a different type of personal prison you are working to break out of, it helps to know you are not alone.This is one woman’s thoughts, input, story, and personal views that have helped her move from serving 6 years in prison to achieving success in the trades, including two journeyman statuses and a board position at Oregon Tradeswomen.

Starting a Business on a Tight Budget

Ready to be your own boss? This workshop takes a deep dive into starting your own business and transitioning from worker to owner. Starting a business is more accessible than you might think and does not necessarily require a lot of start-up cash. Learn the secrets to success from two women who have successfully started businesses in the trades.

Striving Forward, Reaching Back: Creating Welcoming Spaces in the Trades

The focus of this workshop is to explore construction culture and how the dynamics of traditional, white male-oriented workforce influences the way tradeswomen interact with each other on work sites. The objective is to explore what factors influence a hostile workplace, what change we can effect on the front lines, and how we as women can encourage welcoming spaces on work sites, in turn increasing retention and completion of apprenticeship, whole facilitating success in a trade oriented career.

Surviving Apprenticeship

Learn from experienced tradeswomen about how to survive and thrive in apprenticeship. Get practical advice about on-the-job training, planning for expenses, and understanding the role of an apprentices. The workshop is geared toward those in the first 1 – 2 years of their apprenticeship.

Trading up the Trades

If you are considering leaving your current trade, there are options other than leaving the trades altogether. Some people discover that the trade they started out in is not the best fit for them and are able to build their careers by switching into a different trade. This workshop will explore the right (and wrong) way to switch trades, based on insights from experienced tradeswomen. The workshop will also cover the things workers should consider before leaving one trade for another, including how to keep your pension, and identify trainings that are transferable across trades.

All workshops are led by experienced tradeswomen with direct experience in the topic area.

Questions about the Tradeswomen Leadership Institute?

Please contact Megan Taliaferro at [email protected] or 503.335.8200 x 29.

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

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