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Oregon Tradeswomen bring training program to Springfield

Five people in hardhats and safety vests face the camera. A partially-built building is in the background.
Courtesy of Alexis Tirado
Alexis Tirado, a student in the Oregon Tradeswomen pre-apprenticeship program in Springfield, takes a selfie with classmates.

Oregon Tradeswomen (OTW), a nonprofit organization that provides training and support to women in the skilled trades, has brought its pre-apprenticeship training program to Springfield for the very first time. The program is aimed at helping underserved, minority, female-identified, nonbinary, and transgender people enter the construction trades.

The eight-week pre-apprenticeship program covers a variety of topics, including basic construction skills, safety, and soft skills such as teamwork and communication. Students also participate in field trips to construction sites and trade schools.

“I really appreciated being opened up to other trades,” said student Janelle Silver. “If say, carpentry wasn't something that I was passionate about, I would be able to see other things that I just never knew existed.”

The program is open to people of all ages and experience levels. No prior construction experience is required. OTW is hoping to diversify and bridge a gap in the trades workforce.

"Every eight seconds, a contractor or tradesperson retires, and we need to fill it with a diverse workforce," said OTW Project Coordinator Carol Murray.

The first OTW pre-apprenticeship training program in Springfield is currently coming to an end. The cohort graduates in September 2023 .

Economy & Business Oregon TradeswomenConstruction
Ida Hardin is a freelance reporter based in Eugene.