Oregon Tradeswomen wins $650,000 to recruit women region-wide to the trades

Toolbelts and gear aren't just for menfolk any more. Above, women model work duds at Oregon Tradeswomen Inc.'s 2016 Women in Trades Fair.
Toolbelts and gear aren’t just for menfolk any more. Above, women model work duds at Oregon Tradeswomen Inc.’s 2016 Women in Trades Fair.

Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. was just awarded a $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to expand its work region-wide.

The Portland-based group recruits and supports women interested in joining high-skilled, high-wage construction and manufacturing trades — jobs that were traditionally male-only. Women make up 47 percent of the U.S. workforce, but just 3 percent of the construction workforce.

The new grant will fund the creation continuation of a multi-state Technical Assistance Resource Center — to support region-wide efforts to increase the number of women entering nontraditional occupations and registered apprenticeships. It’s one of three such grants that the DOL announced on June 14. The other grantees are Chicago Women in Trades, and Nontraditional Employment for Women, a group based in New York City. In the West Coast regional center, Oregon Tradeswomen partners with Seattle-based Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Employment for Women and Oakland, California-based Tradeswomen Inc.

Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici issued a joint press statement congratulating Oregon Tradeswomen on the grant. The grant program was on the chopping block last year, but Wyden and Merkley helped renew its funding.

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