Supporting OTI

I just wrapped up my third week as Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.’s new development director and it feels like I have been here three months! I mean that in the most complimentary sense to convey how easy my colleagues have made it for me to start in my new role in overseeing fundraising, communications and marketing activities for OTI. So much great work had been done by the staff leading up to my first day and I am very grateful because it made my start that much easier.

Over the next 30 days or so, I’ll be reaching out to donors and community partners to say “hello” and more importantly, “thank you” because we simply cannot promote success for women in the trades through education, leadership and mentorships all alone. It will take each one of us to realize the goal to increase the opportunities for women in the trades.

I’ve been learning all about why we do this important work with statistics like these as some that are surely providing the motivation to make some serious changes in the United States:

  • Women still comprise less than 3% of the skilled trades labor force and apprenticeships. In comparison, women now comprise 36% of paramedics, 35% of athletes/coaches/umpires, 15% of the military, and 12% of police officers.
  • Another compelling statistic is that 50% of all of the Registered Apprenticeship Programs in Oregon do not have a single woman apprentice in their program.

Clearly, we have a long way to go with regards to women in the trades and I hope you will join us by supporting our programs with a financial contribution before December 31. We are participants in this year’s Willamette Week Give!Guide and all donations will be matched – dollar for dollar – up to $5,000 due to the generous support of our partners, Clean Energy Works Oregon and Atomic Direct.

I look forward to meeting all the people behind the success of our various programs: Pathways, Building Girls and T.O.O.L.S. We also host a fun career fair in the spring. Please let me know if you have any questions about how you can help OTI reach even newer heights in advocating for women in the trades!

— Dennise M. Kowalczyk


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