Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. is most grateful for the support of community and industry in our work in promoting the success for women in the trades through education, leadership and mentorship. We do this, in large part, working with our partners in a variety ways, including the coordination of field trips for our Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class participants.
TAC class is a free, 7-week, pre-apprenticeship training class that helps women prepare for a high skill, high wage career in construction. Over the course of the session, women visit several sites like the Sheet Metal Institute.
The center is a registered non-profit joint labor-management training trust between the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union #16 and Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association – Columbia Chapter. It offers approved training programs in three occupations including Sheet Metal Worker, Sheet Metal Worker Service Technician and Residential Sheet Metal Worker.
Kim Neel is a career counselor and job placement specialist for OTI. She coordinates the field trips and I asked her to share some thoughts about our appreciation for the center and the employees who operate it:
“I always make it a priority to make it to the Sheet Metal Institute, because so often many women do not understand what sheet metal workers do. Kevin does a remarkable job of walking them through the process of understanding the scope of the industry as well as its history. He has a great way of getting our students excited not only about the variety of the work, but also the mathematical and mental challenges it brings. They are naturally drawn to the industry because of his organized delivery.
At the beginning of class, we ask all the students what trade they are interested in. Few students ever say Sheet Metal at the start of class. When they graduate we almost always have women who enthusiastically say sheet metal after visiting the training center. The training staff is VERY patient and are great at explaining how and why they are doing what they are doing when they give them a hands on task. The training center also invests in our students and gives them a hands on experience which is invaluable. The students often tell me….”It was when I got my hands on the tools that I fell in love with the trade.” I love that they invest the time and resources into our students. It really shows their commitment to diversify their trade and I respect that a lot.”
— Kim Neel, Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.
Thanks to the entire staff of Sheet Metal Institute for their years of support as a field trip host but also for their long standing support of our annual Women in Trades Career Fair. If you want to learn more about their programs, see their web site for complete details.
— Dennise M. Kowalczyk, Development Director