The manufacturing industry is projected to need to replace more than 30,000 workers in the next decade, and increasing diversity within the industry is critical to ensure companies have access to the skilled, talented labor required for this important sector of our local economy. Manufacturing in Portland is comprised of more than 107,000 jobs, making up 11% of Portland’s total workforce. In Oregon, overall, 26% of our GDP comes from manufacturing.

On Wednesday, April 22nd, Bank of America and Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. convened a group of 22 manufacturing industry executives to introduce them to OTI’s forthcoming Women in Metals & Manufacturing program and to learn from them what they are looking for in an entry level worker.

During the 90 minute discussion, OTI learned firsthand from representatives from local manufacturing firms about 4 broad buckets of work to address prior to launching the new Women in Metals & Manufacturing program:

1) Input on the curriculum & framework of this new manufacturing program
2) Ideas about how to recruit for the program, create awareness, and market the program
3) How local manufacturing employers can be a part of the program with things like site visits, guest speakers & hands-on training opportunities,
4) How to facilitate connections to women role-models who are successful in their manufacturing careers

Oregon Tradeswomen also learned more about what skills are necessary for entry level employment in the industry and career advancement, and overwhelmingly, those industry representatives echoed the following skills:

  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Safety minded
  • Ability to learn and apply learning
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Great attitude / Enthusiastic
  • Teamwork Oriented
  • Respectful
  • Driven

The Structure of the Women in Metals & Manufacturing program:

The Women in Metals & Manufacturing program will consist of two parts:

  1. A one day, hands-on orientation session which introduces women to metals and manufacturing careers, pathways into these careers, and a hands-on activity designed to allow women to experience activities common in manufacturing jobs in order for participants to assess their level of interest and/or their ability to keep pace with the demands of a manufacturing career.
  1. A two-week program modeled on Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.’s nationally recognized
    pre-apprenticeship program, Women in Metals & Manufacturing will offer:

    • Education and training in shop math
    • Blueprint reading
    • Worksite expectations
    • Developing a manufacturing resume
    • Hands-on training activities
    • Mentoring from women who are successful in a manufacturing career
    • Field trips to local manufacturing companies
    • Hands-on training in workshop safety and the safe operation of manual/computerized machines and precision tools
    • Graduates will receive job placement assistance and vocational case management services upon program completion.


Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.’s program staff will be distilling the feedback we received at this roundtable to help inform the curriculum of our Women in Metals & Manufacturing program. The new program is slated to launch in August 2015 with an orientation, and then the 2 week intensive training will be offered in early September.

Input Survey:

Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. welcomes additional feedback from the manufacturing industry to help inform our forthcoming program. If you would like to contribute, please download our survey and return it to:

Dennise M. Kowalczyk
Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.
3934 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Ste.# 101
Portland OR 97212



1 Comment

  1. Karen Monroe on June 19, 2015 at 11:03 am

    I am very interested in learning more and getting involved with this new program. I would love to be an OTI member!

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