Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc celebrates 25 years of Women in the Trades Career Fair May 19-20, 2017.


The Oregon Department of Transportation invites eastern Oregon high school students to learn about the construction and utilities trades.

College vs. Apprenticeship

Minimum Entrance Requirements

College – Entrance requirements vary from college to college and from degree to degree.
Apprenticeship – Entrance requirements vary from program to program and from occupation to occupation.  Most apprenticeships do require a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, algebra skills, and writing skills. All apprenticeship programs require a willingness to learn and the motivation to advance.

Continuing Education

College – Education obtained during a college program can be applied towards an advanced degree.
Apprenticeship – Education obtained during an apprenticeship program can be applied towards an advanced degree. Upon completion of an apprenticeship program, individuals can apply their education towards an Associate, Bachelors, or even a Masters degree.

Time Investment

College – On average, it takes between 2 and 6 years to complete a college degree, depending on the course of study.
Apprenticeship – On average, it takes between 2 and 6 years to complete an apprenticeship program, depending on the occupation.

Future Employment Opportunities

College – Future employment opportunities vary depending on the area of study and the current economic climate. Most college graduates enter their fields at an entry level and advance with experience.
Apprenticeship – Future employment opportunities vary depending on the occupation and the current economic climate. Apprenticeship graduates enter their fields at a journey worker level and can advance into management, design, and ownership.


College – On average, annual in-state tuition and fees are over $7,000.
Apprenticeship – Individuals earn a living wage during their apprenticeship. Annual classroom tuition is less than $1,000 and often paid for by the company training the apprentice.


How To Help Students Decide

  • Help your students get involved with a Construction Career day.
  • Contact your local training centers or community colleges for more information.
  • Check our event calendar for public events near you.
  • Get them involved in a Trade Skills Fundamentals class at your local community college.
  • Contact a pre-apprenticeship program in your area. Check the Trade Locator page.
  • Find an apprenticeship program in the student’s area of interest.
    • Give them a call and ask a lot of questions.
    • Your interest is always welcome.


In the age of the Technological revolution, it is now more critical than ever that workers be prepared to compete in the marketplace of the future.

ken-bello“Trade apprenticeships offer an opportunity for young men and women to acquire the training and skills that will surely be required to earn a true living wage.

“I experienced firsthand a real world insight on how apprentice training changes lives. A few years ago, I met a young African American man named Terence. He was fresh out of high school; Jefferson High to be precise.

“Like many young minority high school graduates, college was not an option for Terence. Drifting from one dead end job to the next, he eventually found work at Walsh construction as a laborer. This was his first exposure to a professional work environment that demanded discipline, punctuality and dependency.

“Terence and I became fast friends. It was readily apparent that he was a very bright young man with a positive attitude towards life. However, he and I realized that as an unskilled laborer, he did not have the skills to advance beyond his then current position. His options were limited.

“He expressed his frustration. I said to him, ‘Terence, you need to get some skills. That’s the only way to reach your potential.’

“After researching various trades, Terence decided to join the plumbers apprentice program. In about four years, he graduated as a journeyman plumber.

“Today, as a skilled worker in a high-demand trade, Terence earns well over 3 times the yearly income of young African American males his age. He is now able to provide well for his family. I am convinced beyond a doubt that apprenticeship programs offer an achievable option for men and women in our community to fully enjoy a fulfilling career.”



Ken Bello, project manager
Walsh Construction Co.

Committed to providing opportunities for women and people of color to grow and excel in their craft of choice

hoffman-apprenticeApprentice Michelle Miller works out a tricky connection at a Hoffman job site.

“At Hoffman Construction, we want our projects to reflect the diversity of our community. That’s why we are committed to providing opportunities for women and people of color — not only to grow, but to excel in their craft of choice.

“This commitment includes providing safe, welcoming jobsites, formal and informal mentoring programs, and support for pre-apprenticeship programs that target minority and historically disadvantaged populations.

“Hoffman is always looking for talented, hard-working people who like to be outside, working with their hands. Whether we are building a world-class laboratory for healing and discovery, a brand new sports stadium, or a condo tower — we need a skilled and educated workforce.”




Bart Eberwein, Business Development & Public Affairs, Hoffman Construction


Have you entered the construction trades by way of apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship in the state of Oregon?

Share your journey. Inspire others to pursue a career in construction.

Get your story included on this website!

If you entered the construction trades by way of apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship in the state of Oregon, we’d love to include your story on this website!
It doesn’t matter how much or how little experience you may have as an apprentice or accomplished journeyman or woman.Your story may inspire others to choose a career path in construction!

How to submit your story

To submit your story, please provide us with some information about your apprentice experience in the form below. Include details about what your apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship was like for you, and information about what you’re doing now, if you have already completed a program. Someone will be in touch within the next 30 business days to follow up on your story submission.

Tool Box for Success

Do you have the tools you need to succeed in construction?
  • Attach yourself to a journey-worker on the job site and learn from them
  • Focus to get ahead if you want to stay in the field
  • Don’t take anything personally
  • Be good at your job
  • Work up your physical strength
  • Realize that there are no short-cuts
  • Enjoy the experience
  • Make friends with everyone
  • Go with the flow
  • Have a thick skin
  • Know who you are
  • Employ good time-management skills and good listening skills
  • Have a good learning attitude
  • Know that you are the competition
  • Don’t give up
  • Study hard at school
  • Be ready for a lot of work
  • Listen to what the foreman is saying
  • Learn how to take orders well
  • Learn how to take initiative
  • Be detail-oriented but do the job fast at the same time
  • Maintain good communication and ask questions
  • Know your stuff!
  • Be physical, work out
  • Work harder than everybody else, don’t talk a lot, pay attention, show up on time, be dependable and don't phone in sick unless you absolutely need to!
  • Have fun!!
Barriers to employment for women in construction

Although this list is not all-inclusive, it was included to give an indication of the kinds of barriers some women will face, and overcome.
  • Biased or discriminatory hiring practices
  • Stereotypical perceptions of women's abilities
  • Isolation of women in male-dominated worksites
  • Unequal pay for women performing similar jobs as male co-workers
  • Various forms of harassment (CLMPC, 1990; SPR Associates, 2002A; Grzetic, 1998;)
  • There is a lack of diversity training among co-workers, including clarity around the issue of employment equity. (WITT-NN, 1999)
  • Social isolation
  • Lack of education and fundamental skills
  • Lack of informal mentors to develop an interest in the trades
  • Lack of management / supervisor leadership in setting an appropriate tone in terms of acceptance of women in male-dominated workplaces. WITT-Alberta, 2000)
  • Physical Strength Limitations
  • Stereotypes / Sexism / Perception of women on job site
  • Lack of information available about trades as a career option
  • Lack of daycare/difficulty with work / life balance
Getting around Barriers

  • Recognize the friendly faces at your jobsite
  • Dress appropriately for the trade
  • Identify something your company does a lot of and get good at it
  • Use common sense
  • Find a mentor
  • Become good at job hunting
  • Network
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