On February 10, 2016 OTI was honored to host a group of 20 women from 20 different countries. These women were visitors to the U.S. through the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
According to the Department of State, the goals for this group are to:
- Examine the U.S. political system and women’s participation at the local, state, and national levels;
- Explore programs and initiatives that encourage young women to become involved in politics, run for office, and run effective campaigns;
- Introduce the role of women’s organizations in shaping political dialogue and convey an understanding of effective interaction and support among women across various sectors;
- Gain insight to legislation and programs that promote equal pay and fair treatment for women in the workplace and promote the value of women’s contributions in the home and as primary caregivers for the young and the elderly; and
- Introduce initiatives and legislation that address women’s needs in the areas of health and education.
OTI staff Leigh McIlvaine and Tiffany Thompson really enjoyed presenting to this incredible group of women. During their hour with the group they explained construction apprenticeship, OTI’s Programs, and the larger advocacy work of both OTI and the National Taskforce on Tradeswomen’s Issues. They also covered some brief information about International Tradeswomen work including a 2015 Calendar featuring tradeswomen from across the world (our own AJ Banuelos was featured as May!), Susan Moir’s Fulbright Scholarship researching women in the trades in India, and women in the Trades and Civil Engineering in Japan.
The second half of the visit was spent in open discussion about OTI’s work and women working in the trades in other nations. These women leaders were incredible and insightful; discussion topics included from maternity leave, union political power, cultural perceptions of women working as manual laborers, and fighting myths about the value of blue collar work. Many of the women shared that this was the first time they had a chance to talk about women working in the construction industry and they were excited to think about career opportunities for women in a different way. OTI is certainly looking forward to questions from them in the future about advocating for tradeswomen in their countries!
If you are interested, you can see the full list of visitors below:
Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. (OTI) received a $4,000 grant from the Multnomah Bar Foundation to support components of OTI’s TOOLS program (Tradeswomen Organized for Outreach, Leadership & Support) – a program aspiring to advance tradeswomen’s understanding of civic responsibility, to improve tradeswomen’s understanding of the legislative process, and build their leadership capacity overall. OTI’s TOOLS program provides voter registration, voter education, civic engagement, and advocacy and legislative work, so that tradeswomen are included in the civic and legislative process on issues that affect working class tradeswomen.
Today, OTI’s current class of pre-apprenticeship students are participating in OTI’s annual Construction Equity Day event where students visit the State Capitol Building to meet with legislators, observe the legislative session, and learn more about how new laws are enacted in our state.
“We are immensely thankful to Multnomah Bar Foundation for their investment in our work with tradeswomen,” said Tiffany Thompson, Advocacy Program Manager for OTI. “These funds will help educate tradeswomen about the direct impact civic engagement can have on OTI’s work and on the Construction Industry at large. We will also be able to instill a more relevant understanding of the role of the legislative process, and help tradeswomen feel competent and knowledgeable enough to be meaningfully engaged in government, law, leadership, and elections,” Thompson added.
Founded in 2005, the Multnomah Bar Foundation (MBF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The MBF has established two dedicated funds: the Civic Education Fund (formerly the MBA 100th Anniversary Community Gift Fund) and Multnomah CourtCare. For more information about the MBF visit their website.
Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. thanks the Multnomah Bar Foundation for its generous support of our programming!