OTI Selected for Legacy Award

We are thrilled to share that OTI is one of the recipients of a Legacy Award of $25,000 from the Women’s Foundation of Oregon!

The Women’s Foundation of Oregon has a vision for Oregon where every woman and girl can thrive. This vision resonates significantly with the work and mission of OTI, which is dedicated to promoting the success for women in the trades through education, leadership, and mentorship.

The $25,000 award will greatly expand the reach of our information and messages, revealing the information about high-wage trades careers that is generally hidden or inaccessible to women, as well as enable us to better retrieve data that will show the impact of our work. This includes improving our digital communications to reach more women; produce videos sharing the opportunities to become involved with OTI; connect with girls and women of color and in rural communities to engage them in our programs; hire a part-time outreach coordinator; and improve our infrastructure to better improve our services for girls and women

Terri, Connie & Dennise at the Women's Foundation of Oregon celebration event

Terri, Connie & Dennise at the Women’s Foundation of Oregon celebration event

Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. thanks the membership of the Women’s Foundation of Oregon for this generous gift to help us do more in empowering women and girls in the trades!

Pathways to Success Scholarship Fund

Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. welcomes the support of the business community to help us fulfill our mission to engage more women and girls in the trades. Our newest opportunity is a scholarship fund program supporting the impactful work of our Pathways to Success program, namely, our Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class (TACC).

The TAC class program offers a focus on apprenticeship through a 7-week, state-certified, pre-apprenticeship training class that helps women prepare for a high skill, high wage career in the blue-collar professions in construction, manufacturing and the utility trades. Class sessions occur four times a year. All interested participants must first attend an information session and then a rigorous screening interview with staff in order to be qualified to participate in the class.

TACC covers key elements that lead to a successful outcome for students as well as teaching the grit, perseverance, and timeliness skills that also contribute to professional readiness: basic math and measurement, job safety in addition to construction culture, using hand and power tools, and physical fitness training. All of this is included with the 30 hours of hands-on training experience working with professional tradeswomen. Due to the intense one-on-one instruction we offer in this program, the cost to cover associated expenses is $5,000 per woman. But our students attend at no cost to themselves!

Why is this? The majority of our students are in low-wage jobs, unemployed, or are being supported by their families. In fact, their average annual income is only $11,000. We raise funds from foundations and contributors to cover the cost of the class and help our students move from poverty to the middle class, and self-sufficiency.

With your contribution of $5,000 toward our Pathways to Success Scholarship Fund, your business can help a woman learn about skills and opportunities to pursue well-paying jobs in our community. Your company will also be listed as a supporter of the program on our web site, receive acknowledgement on our social media platforms and will receive a mention in our e-newsletter. You will also receive an invitation to attend class graduation to see your generous donation at work along with acknowledgement as a program supporter on the graduation program and the event invitation!

Our graduates are ready to hit the ground running. Please contact Dennise M. Kowalczyk – Development Director – at dennise@tradeswomen.net or call 503.335.8200, x38 for more information. Please join us in promoting the success for girls and women in the trades through education, leadership, and mentorship by becoming a scholarship fund program.


Tradeswomen Stories – September 25, 2015



The 2015 Tradeswomen’s Stories event is a unique opportunity to engage with both the trades industry and the art community. OTI is offering limited sponsorship participation to businesses seeking a unique community engagement opportunity.

This year’s Tradeswomen Leadership Institute will kick off with a compelling segement called Tradeswomen Stories: Whatever you do…don’t do that! Five tradeswomen will be immersed in the art of storytelling – sharing their true stories live and on stage – at one of Portland’s finest performance venues, Disjecta. This event will build community and create a powerful tool for tradeswomen to share their experiences.

Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. is partnering with Back Fence PDX for this exciting event featuring local tradeswomen. Their stories are often invisible in discussions about construction. These women face incredible adversity and break significant barriers to get and retain jobs that have largely only been accessible to white men for generations. During the past year, apprenticeship, trades, and manufacturing have taken a prominent place in national conversation about workforce, economy, and employment.

TRADESWOMEN’S STORIES: Whatever you do…don’t do that!

Friday September 25, 2015
Doors at 6:30 pm
Show at 7:00 pm
18+ Only
Tickets available to purchase online.

8371 N Interstate Ave
Portland, OR 97217


Tradeswomen Leadership Institute 2014


January 2015 – Oh, what a month!

All kinds of love headed OTI’s way since my last post about such matters.  It is so thrilling to hear from our members how much they love OTI and how they join us in our collective vision to help women pursue work in the trades.

At our recent annual meeting, we visited with almost 70 attendees to talk about what we did accomplish over the past year and all the great opportunity that is available to us in 2015.

Please visit our Facebook page to see more photos from our Annual Meeting!


Our accomplishments for 2014 include:

• 79 women graduated from our Pathways pre-apprenticeship program in 2014.
• We helped 88 women get their first job in the trades or move up to apprenticeship.
• 75 graduates landed their first job in the trades with an average hourly wage of $15.18.
• 1441 girls and educators attended our annual Women in Trades Career Fair.
• 76 girls attended our Summer Girls Construction Camp through our Building Girls program.

We also gave away great raffle prizes!  Thanks to Portland Spirit, Tradeswomen, Inc., Miss Zumstein Bakery & Coffee Shop, Ristretto Roasters, and Hankins Hardware for donating some really sweet prizes. A special shout out of thanks to Doris, our amazing volunteer, who did the work at getting most of these goodies into our hands.

We received great news from these foundations as they sent us very generous support for our various programs:

  • NW Health Foundation – $50,000 – Building Equity – Creating a Construction Culture that Supports Women and People of Color
  • The Autzen Foundation- $3,000 – Building Girls
  • The Jim & Dianna Murphy Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation – $10,000 – Supporting programs that encourage girls and women to explore careers in transportation and trucking


I had the pleasure of hand delivering several certificates of appreciation to a few of our long-time sponsors of our annual career fair. I visited with NW Natural, RR Donnelley, PacifiCorp and Gunderson.

Our 2015 Career Fair is taking place May 14 – 16 — learn more here!

If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation to OTI today in order to support our efforts to promote success for women and girls in the trades through education, leadership, and mentorship, please click here – thank you!

— Dennise M. Kowalczyk (Development Director)