2021 Diversity SUMMIT: Recap

Oregon Tradeswomen hosted our annual Diversity Summit virtually for the first time on February 25th, and while not quite the same as being able to come together in person – we were still able to network, share conversations, and exchange ideas! We are so grateful to everyone who joined the conversations focused on workforce equity and jobsite culture.

Hosting the event during Black History Month reminds us of the courage and many contributions of Black tradesworkers and unionists who fought to make our industry  more equitable;  tragically, it also reminds us of how much more work must be done. February 14th marked the fourth Outi Hicks Remembrance Day, the day we lost our sister and union carpenter apprentice when she was killed by a co-worker on a construction job-site in Fresno, CA.

Over the last year, our community and our industry saw challenges beyond the global healthcare pandemic – we also witnessed a pandemic of hate here across the country as nooses were being hung on jobsites in Las Vegas, Toronto, Washington D.C., Altoona, Baltimore, and here in Portland. This heartbreaking symbol of hatred and racism could have set the stage for more hatred to permeate our jobsites, but instead, Oregon Tradeswomen graduate and UA Local 290 apprentice Leslie Cotton took a stand and spoke up to demand accountability and justice.

Inspired by Leslie’s courage and persistence, community and industry stakeholders came to stand with Leslie to say no to hate, no to harassment and no to racism. Out of this hate, a collective cry for change has resonated across Portland’s construction industry. Over the last nine months, unions, employers, public owners, trade associations, community advocates and tradesworkers themselves have organized here in Portland have begun collaborating to change construction culture and make our jobsites “Safe from Hate”.

Many industry stakeholders have signed the Jobsite Culture Pledge and are actively taking steps to shift our long-standing culture for a more inclusive, equitable and respectful model – one that truly puts diversity and equity front and center. While we have more work to do, it is clear that in working together we are making change.

Thank you to everyone who helped to make this year’s event meaningful and thank your continued efforts in creating a model for equity in the construction sector and across our region. Together, we are making a difference.

Big gratitude to all the presenters and moderators – we appreciate you in contributing your time, talent, and expertise to this year’s Diversity Summit! We are so very grateful for our Sponsors who made this year’s event possible!


Meyer Memorial Trust


Streimer Sheet Metal



Tradesworker Equity Panel: Voices from the Field

Hear from a diverse panel of tradesworkers who will share their experiences in our industry and how policy moves from paper to practice – and when it doesn’t – the impact on their lives and careers.

Robert Camarillo, Executive Secretary, Oregon Building and Construction Trades Council

Pat Daniels, Executive Director, Constructing Hope


Janett Arellano, Carpenters Local 1503
Bobby Hamilton, Case Manager, Constructing Hope
Nickeia Hunter, Carpenters Local 1503
Miranda A. Jenniches, IUOE Local 701
Aundrell Mullens, POIC Graduate
Alejandra Prado, Carpenters Local 1503

Changing Jobsite Culture: Perspectives from the Field

Culture change is necessary for women and people of color to feel accepted, and for the construction industry to survive. Learn more from leaders in the field who are taking part in region wide initiatives to change our industry and to create respectful worksites.

Dr. Roberta Hunte, PhD

Maurice Rahming, Co-Owner, O’Neill Construction Group
Maura Kelly, Associate Professor, Portland State University
Kenechi Onyeagusi, Executive Director, PBDG

Levering Policy and Public Investments for Equity

Public agencies play a crucial role in setting industry standards as well as providing incentives for industry to change the way they do business. Hear how different agencies have used to influence to increase equity in the field.

Andre Baugh, Principal, Group AGB Ltd.

Sebrina Owens-Wilson, Regional Impact Program Manager Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Metro
Kimberly Branam, Executive Director, Prosper Portland
Larry Williams, MA Operations and Policy Analyst, BOLI Workforce Development Program Apprenticeship and Training Division

Investing in Workforce Retention: Strategies for Shared Prosperity

Investing in workforce retention is key to maintain the number of diverse workers already in the field and to ensuring that the women and people of color in the construction industry have what they need to thrive. This panel will give their insights on the best ways to invest in retaining workers.

Kelly Kupcak, Executive Director Oregon Tradeswomen

Lisa Ransom, Director, Oregon Labor & Industries Apprenticeship & Training Division
Bridget Quinn, Workforce Development Coordinator, NECA IBEW Electrical Training Center
Eryn Byram, Executive Director, Labor’s Community Services Agency
Michael Burch, Community Relations & Outreach Specialist, PNW Regional Council of Carpenters
Andrew McGough, Executive Director, Worksystems Inc.