Kelly Kupcak, Executive Director, Oregon Tradeswomen

What is your connection to Prosper Portland?

Oregon Tradeswomen is a Portland-based nonprofit whose mission is to promote the success of women in the trades through education, training, leadership development and mentorship. We received a Community Livability grant in 2015 from Prosper Portland to install upgrades to our office space and build capacity to house more staff. The build-out was used as a hands-on training opportunity for our pre-apprenticeship training students.

What have you learned?

Oregon Tradeswomen is committed to working with our clients, partners and community from an equity lens for racial justice, gender justice and economic justice. We believe that our work with Prosper Portland has reaffirmed that pledge and allowed us to increase our capacity and therefore serve more of our community members, many of whom are women of color, low-income women and women who have been historically underserved.

Why does it matter?

This opportunity allowed us to increase capacity in our organization by creating the physical space to house new and expanding staff. Since the project, we have added six (6) additional staff. Additionally, the grant allowed our Pathways team to provide experiential learning opportunities for our pre-apprenticeship training students – critical to their skills development and building a portfolio of hands-on experience, thereby increasing their likelihood of securing employment in the construction sector.

How do you think your involvement in this project contributes to an equitable economy?

To Oregon Tradeswomen, building a more equitable economy means that everyone in our community is provided with the training, education and support to be able to access good jobs, with good wages and benefits. We are focused on creating access, opportunity and equity in the work we do and appreciate the collaboration with Prosper Portland to build a more equitable Portland together.

What’s next for you/this project?

Oregon Tradeswomen is continuing to grow our service platform and staff, as well as our ability to provide meaningful hands-on training on site, which we currently are unable to, due to lack of training space. Therefore, we recently launched a search for a building to purchase and will officially announce our capital campaign in early 2018.