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Local nonprofit supports the path to certification for women who are seeking a hands-on career.

Oregon Tradeswomen Inc (OTI) is dedicated to promoting success for women in the trades through education, leadership and mentorship. Founded in 1989 as a small support group led by four tradeswomen (an elevator constructor, two carpenters and an operating engineer), it was reorganized as Oregon Tradeswomen Inc, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, in 1999.

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Oregon Tradeswomen Inc was founded on the principles that women deserve and can attain economic self-sufficiency through pursuing careers in the building, mechanical, electrical and utility trades while helping and encouraging the trades industry build up a diverse workforce.

Our Pathways to Success program focuses on apprenticeship. Oregon Tradeswomen’s Pathway to Success program offers the Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class (TACC), a seven week, pre-apprenticeship training class that helps our students prepare for a high skill, high wage career in construction. The class is offered at no charge to participants thanks to generous funding from foundations, industry and individual donors.

Participants in the Pathways to Success program will:

  • Learn basic trades math and measurement
  • Receive an introduction to green building
  • Explore topics such as job site safety and construction culture
  • Learn to use hand and power tools
  • Gain 30 hours of hands-on experience working alongside skilled female instructors on real job sites

Through our Pathways to Success program, Oregon Tradeswomen Inc has served:

  • 26.8 percent women of color
  • 2.2 percent veterans
  • 24 percent single mothers
  • 12 percent formerly incarcerated

The average annual income of these women before entering our program is $11,000 so they are eager for the skills that will move them from poverty to prosperity. During class, students gain hands-on construction experience working alongside skilled female instructors; explore safety, job site culture and construction math; and visit apprenticeship training centers. After graduation, services for employment and mentoring continue for as long as they are needed. Oregon Tradeswomen Inc offers four sessions annually, and supportive services and job placement year-round, at no cost to the students, thanks to government and foundation grants, donations from industry partners and individual donors.

On average, 80 percent of Oregon Tradeswomen Inc graduates enter apprenticeships and other trade careers that pay not just a living wage, but a family wage, such as welder, electrician, carpenter, sheet metal worker, cement mason, machinist, line worker and more. Today, Oregon has twice the national average rate of female trades apprentices because of Oregon Tradeswomen’s work in the industry.

In 2016, 397 women attended an information session about Oregon Tradeswomen Inc’s pre-apprenticeship program, 88 entered training, 77 graduated and 66 were placed into trades-related jobs or apprenticeships. OTI has great pride in our graduates; their strength, their perseverance and their grit. Our graduates are our success stories and we are proud to be part of their path to economic independence and the ability to plan for their families’ future.

To find out more information about Oregon Tradeswomen Inc, visit them here: www.tradeswomen.net

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