Did you know construction workers are disproportionately affected by heart disease? One in four tradesworkers have high blood pressure, some even being unaware of it before its too late! While construction careers are active jobs, some even say a replacement for the gym, that doesn’t automatically grant tradesworkers a path to great health. After speaking with Lily Banning of the American Heart Association (AHA), we learned there are multiple factors for this heightened risk for heart-attack and stroke for tradesworkers.
Hardhats with Heart is an initiative under the AHA that came to existence when a volunteer, Bart Dickson, President and Founder of Cobalt, spoke up about the frankly unacceptable amount of times he had to make calls to the families of his workers to let them know their loved ones had suffered from a heart attack or stroke on the jobsite. After some investigation, it became clear that there is a direct connection between stress and heart health for tradesworkers with the mental and physical demands of the jobs often being exacerbated by unhealthy coping habits such as poor diet, increased use of energy drinks, use of tobacco products, as well as lack of information about the warning signs of cardiovascular disease.
The AHA is also exploring the role of workplace culture as a contributing factor to overall stress levels and heart health. Jobsites where workers experience harassment and discrimination are hostile work environments which not only negatively impact worker safety, productivity, and retention, but also heart health and overall well-being! These impacts are intensified for women and BIPOC tradesworkers, which is why Oregon Tradeswomen focused on jobsite culture change work: we are an affiliate trainer of RISE Up – a bystander intervention model to prevent bullying and harassment, and part of the work around Safe From Hate which calls on all industry stakeholders in the construction industry to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion by clearly addressing jobsite culture.
With help from construction companies and construction-adjacent organizations like Oregon Tradeswomen, the American Heart Association started Hardhats with Heart in 2017 with three local priorities here in Oregon: Increase access and education about healthy diets, help tradesworkers manage chronic disease, and reduce the high risk of heart disease in tradeswomen. Hardhats with Heart is working hard with the local construction industry to provide jobsite trainings on health and stress-management, offering on-site blood pressure screenings, and creating a virtual Resource Hub for tradesworkers and their employers to learn more about the simple ways they can help prevent heart disease and deaths.
This online Resource Hub is dedicated to health information specific to the construction industry with the intent of being free and easily available. Subjects include nutrition, mental well-being, fitness, managing blood pressure, and more! When we asked the AHA’s Community Impact Director, Lily Banning, about what she wanted our audience to know about these online resources, she told us, “Hardhats with Heart is rolling out a series of industry-wide trainings for free! There is a focus on a different topic for every month starting this July, running through December. We encourage all tradesworkers and their employers to join in on the conversation and get their questions answered!”
Hardhats with Heart looks to continue improving its resources and the services they offer to tradesworkers so that the number of lives lost from preventable disease is reduced. To do this, they want to hear from you! What are you doing to take care of your health? Is there a focus on health, both heart specific and holistically, on your jobsite? What can Hardhats with Heart do for you?
If you are passionate about this issue and want to contribute or want to learn more about how to get involved with Hardhats with Heart, please contact Lily Banning at Lily.Banning@heart.org.
As a community, the goal is to provide free and easy to access free resources to help inspire and equip tradesworkers to live longer, healthier lives.
- Todd Duwe, Perlo Construction
- Meyer Memorial Trust headquarters project
- Mel Jones, JE Dunn Construction
- Román Hernández, Troutman Pepper
- Kelly Kupcak, Oregon Tradeswomen Inc.
- Wenaha Group
- Portland Building reconstruction project
- RKm Development
- The Skanner (lifetime achievement award)
- Center for Equity & Inclusion
- Advanced Tribal LLC
- Hacienda Community Development Corp.
- Angela Watkins, Minority Construction Group and Constructing Hope
- NAMC University
- Safe from Hate initiative
Thanks to OPB for illuminating some of the long-standing and problematic requirements creating unnecessary barriers for minority, disadvantaged, emerging, veteran, and women owned firms when competing for public contracts. These unfair practices continue to be an obstacle to equitable public contracting, and ultimately, a shared prosperity model.
Thank you to Maurice Rahming, president of O’Neill Electric, for the reminder that this is a decades old conversation – and it’s time to set proven, evidence-based policies in place which increase opportunities, access, and true economic inclusion for those firms.
In 2020, Portland awarded over $200 million for ‘goods and services’, yet businesses owned by people of color only received a tiny sliver of these annual public dollars expended by the city – ranging from a mere.8% to 3% over the last five years. These structural inequities are the reason Oregon Tradeswomen participates in industry coalitions such as the Metropolitan Alliance for Workforce Equity (MAWE) and other policy efforts – where together, we can make true changes for economic equity. Our collective advocacy work helps advance sound public policy, such as Community Benefits Agreements, to ensure public investments make a difference by reaching underserved workforce, including women, BIPOC, and minority-owned firms.
It’s time to invest in equity Portland!
Oregon Tradeswomen is grateful to COAST for their support!
With Oregon Tradeswomen’s first Pre-Apprenticeship cohort of 2021 graduating this April, COAST generously provided each graduate with a COAST gift pack of gear that will prove useful as they embark on their brand new skilled trades careers!
Beyond these graduation gifts, COAST is running a special promotion for Oregon Tradeswomen supporters, giving 20% off to their online catalog to anyone who uses code OT20 at checkout!
When we asked why COAST is supporting Oregon Tradeswomen, Marshall Alexander, Live Events and Partnership Manager at COAST, shared:
“We view trades organizations as essential to the growth, development, and advancement of the country, and no one embodies this more than Oregon Tradeswomen. Their commitment to the values of respect, excellence, equity, community, and empowerment, made this an obvious partnership for us to help them achieve their goals. We look forward to growing this partnership well into the future.”
For more than 100 years, COAST has had one goal: Make the American worker’s life safer and easier, both on the job and at home. The third generation of the Brands family continues this mindset with innovative lighting and cutting tools, as well as safety gear, and more. COAST Products continues to push the standard higher into the next generation.
Thanks again to COAST for being there for our students as they take their next steps to apprenticeship and their careers in construction!
Investment into our nation’s infrastructure is underway through President Biden’s Build Back Better Initiative and for that public investment to make a difference, the economic recovery needs to be inclusive. To that end, the National Skills Coalition and Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships have convened an Infrastructure Industry Recovery Panel of industry leaders to share recommendations on the Biden Administration through meetings with White House advisors, the Departments of Energy and Transportation, and Congressional leadership.
Oregon Tradeswomen’s Executive Director Kelly Kupcak, and Board Treasurer and principle of O’Neill Construction Group, Ali O’Neill were invited to serve on the panel!
Through our participation on the panel, we will be contributing to recommendations which address the disproportionate impact of the economic crisis on workers of color, immigrants, and workers with barriers to full employment. Through an equity lens, the panel will make recommendations to work towards dismantling structural racism within workforce education and training. Oregon Tradeswomen is also advocating for the ten strategies for an equitable infrastructure outlined by the National Taskforce on Tradeswomen Issues to be included. While skills training alone will not ensure an inclusive recovery, it should be part and parcel of our national plan and federal public policy.
Oregon Tradeswomen is committed to providing quality Pre-Apprenticeship training, but sometimes we need a little help from our community to make sure our students have the tools and gear they need to have a well-rounded trades education!
Whether you have some used items gathering dust in your garage or feel inspired to donate new equipment, Oregon Tradeswomen welcomes your help.
At this moment, our biggest needs are:
- New computers to run AutoCAD. Autodesk came through for us in a big way by donating AutoCAD software to improve our teaching! Now, we need help securing compatible computers capable of running this powerful program.
- At least 8 Milwaukee Tool, 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Power Tool batteries. Last year when COVID required us to teach without the sharing of tools – Milwaukee Tool donated enough for each student to have their own workstation.
Can you help us keep students working? Other items on our wish-list:
- 25’ 12 and 14 gauge extension cords
- Shop clamps of various sizes
- Klein wire strippers (45-120 T5 10-18 AWG)
- Milwaukee Tools Jigsaw (2781-20 – 5″ w/ slide lock bare tool)
- 24″ computer monitors
Thank you SO much for making a difference in a woman’s life!
Oregon Tradeswomen was recently contacted by a representative at the Portland Water Bureau with some excellent resources for financial assistance to help with business, home, or apartment water and sewer bills, free water testing and conservation kits, toilet rebates, and more!
Check out some of these handy resources from the Portland Water Bureau for more information about the ways they can help you have clean, affordable drinking water in your home or business:
If customers qualify based on income, they may be eligible for a discount on their sewer/stormwater/water bill, crisis assistance and free water leak repair for homeowners and more. Attached are print versions of our application for financial assistance. The Water Bureau has an online financial assistance application as well. Contact Customer Service with questions, or help with applications.
503.823.7770 x 3
Water Efficiency Program
Saving water can help save on your bill! The Water Bureau has free water-saving devices that can be used in the kitchen and bathroom as well as toilet rebates for homes and apartments. Swap out your old toilet with a WaterSense-labeled one and then apply for a rebate online. They also offer technical assistance for commercial customers. If your water use is higher than expected, give them a call!
Visit the water efficiency program website or contact:
Water Quality Testing
Some apartments and homes in Portland have lead solder in the plumbing. It is recommended to have your water tested. Order one of the Portland Water Bureau’s lead test kits.
Tracy Weber: On A Path to Financial Stability and a Secure Future
Tracy graduated from Oregon Tradeswomen’s (OTW) apprenticeship readiness class in March 2020 – the first full class in our brand-new building and workshop before COVID shifted our in-person gatherings.
Since completing OTW’s class, Tracy had another baby and recently started her Carpentry Apprenticeship. We are so happy for Tracy in these next steps in pursuing a career in a trade she had always been interested in but just didn’t know how to get started. OTW is happy to be part of her success story and will be here for future support, training, and connections.
Tracy recently shared her personal story of working in customer service, becoming a mother, and wanting to provide a more stable future for her family at Worksystems’ EOP program presentation at Prosper Portland‘s Board meeting. We invite you to watch it and hear directly from Tracy how she went from working a dead end job, and smoking pot all the time, and not caring about the future, to getting serious to get the training and support needed to pursue a career as a Carpenter.
Oregon Tradeswomen is grateful to our community of supporters and donors who make it possible for strong women like Tracy to get the information, training, and support they need to build strong lives, families, and communities.
Bringing in the money to keep nonprofits going, year after year, is mostly like a big patchwork quilt your grandma made. It has:
- Bits of solid old fabric (funders who are with you year after year)
- Patches of new fabric (new donors) to cover the worn spots
- Yearly mending to keep the quilt from fraying as the years go by.
Those of us who work at nonprofits often ask each other about this patchwork and share stories of pain and triumph. 2020 started as a year full of hope and excitement – we moved into our beautiful new workshop and training facility in January. We set up desks for our newly expanded staff and welcomed the first group of students into the new classroom where we expected to serve more women and do it more effectively than ever before. On track to offer classes in the evenings and on weekends, we had finally removed one of the historic barriers preventing more women from taking advantage of this free, life changing resource.
As the year wore on, it felt like the rug was pulled out from under our feet with COVID health and safety restrictions forcing us to cancel classes and our oh-so-beloved annual Career Fair.
But then the light started to shine through the window and help started to show up in many different forms:
- We’re grateful to the Foundation Partners who called to say that our grant funding could be used to simply get through the year.
- Long time industry partners, hearing about lost funding, said – “how can we help?” – then they dug deep and doubled or tripled their “normal” investment.
- A ten year old named Earlie, who saves her money all year to help local nonprofits, sent in a gift of $25 (Thank you Earlie!)
- When we needed extra tools to set up the training workshop in a COVID-safe way, and I couldn’t reach my local contacts, the leadership team at Milwaukee Tools simply said “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you”
- When we needed extra lumber and supplies to re-start training, Parr Lumber and Platt Electric donated everything on our wish list.
- A woman I’ve never met knocked on the front door, told me she had known about our work for some time and thought we might need some help. She sat and wrote us a check saying, “Use it wherever you need it most”.
- In the first two weeks of the Willamette Week Give!Guide, half of all the donors have made their first gift to the organization.
We’re grateful for every person, for every dollar and for every kind word that has helped us get through this year – including Laura, who sent in $10 and said “I’m unemployed right now, I wish this was more”.
To every single person who has invested in our work and the mission of OTW, and who’s helping us put women to work, giving them and their families a secure future – YOU will forever be part of our well loved patchwork quilt.
Seeking to increase job safety awareness and to help protect workers against the COVID-19 pandemic, a joint task force has published free resources for the construction industry. The resources provided by the COVID-19 Joint Construction Safety Task Force include a safety checklist, best practices, and photographs.
From April 15 through May 7, groups of five to seven task force members, assisted by an Oregon OSHA consultant, visited nine job sites in Portland, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, Salem, Eugene, Oregon City, and sites in Eastern and Central Oregon to assess job safety practices addressing COVID-19 and to make recommendations for improvements.
The task force is a partnership of union and non-union industry professionals, with support from Oregon OSHA. The group meets twice a week to monitor health information and government guidelines, and to collect data and information. It will continue to coordinate job site visits as long as Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” executive order is in place.
“The construction community recognizes the need to work together across all areas of development to protect our workers, the public, and visitors to our job sites,” said Mark Long, CEO of Oregon Home Builders Association. “It is gratifying to be part of a group of industry professionals committed to bending the curve of the COVID virus while contributing to Oregon’s economy.”
“We depend on the skilled pipe-fitters and plumbers working for Charter on our project sites and fab shops,” said Cordell Tietz, president of Charter Mechanical. “It is critical that we have a safe environment for our employees, so they can continue to take care of our customers’ needs. This crisis has presented new challenges to all of us, and it’s been important and rewarding seeing our industry come together to keep people working safely and completing critical projects.”
Task force members:
- Associated General Contractors-Oregon Columbia Chapter
- Central Oregon Building and Construction Trades Council
- Columbia-Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council
- Hoffman Construction Company
- Lane, Coos, Curry, Douglas Building & Construction Trades Council
- NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center
- O’Neill Construction Group
- Oregon Home Builders Association
- Oregon OSHA
- Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council
- Oregon Tradeswomen
- Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters
- Pendleton Building Trades Council
- Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Association
- Salem Building and Construction Trades Council
- Southern Oregon Building and Construction Trades Council
- University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center, LERC
For general questions about the construction task force, contact Mary Ann Naylor at Oregon Tradeswomen, email@example.com
Task force contacts:
Robert Camarillo, executive secretary, Oregon State Building Trades Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Salsgiver, executive director, Associated General Contractors – Oregon Columbia Chapter: email@example.com
Mark Long, chief executive officer, Oregon Home Builders Association:
Paul Philpott, political representative, Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters:
Mary Ann Naylor, communications & marketing director, Oregon Tradeswomen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aaron Corvin, public information officer, Oregon OSHA: