Oregon Tradeswomen's 2018 Career Fair
The Oregon Tradeswomen's 2018 Career Fair is coming up this May on Friday the 18th and Saturday the 19th. It intends to educate, inspire and give opportunity to the future construction workforce, and has been in play for 26 years.
May 18 is School Girls' Day, for students attending with their school, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oregon Tradeswomen has more than 1,500 students and teachers signed up to attend this year, up from 800-1,000 in previous years.
"We changed up the format a little so that teachers and students can just drop in on activities, they don't get scheduled into stuff because it's really important for young girls to see what opportunities they have," said Mary Ann Naylor, communications and marketing director with Oregon Tradeswomen. "If they don't see women doing jobs they only see men doing, they don't think 'Oh gosh, I could be a carpenter, or run that heavy equipment.'"
On Saturday, it is Careers For Women Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission, parking and on-site childcare is free, and there will be a free shuttle service from the Gateway Transit Center.
Participants can register as volunteers, sponsors, exhibitors or workshop presenters — or simply as attendees.
"It's a whole variety of people who come: traditional career seekers who want to talk to employers to find out what kind of job openings are available or how they can get started at a company," Naylor said. "People can talk to the workers and find out how do you get in? What's it like to work there?"
The fair intends to connect diverse job candidates, educate students about apprenticeship and career possibilities without college debt, inform adult career seekers about industry opportunities, and interact with the public to raise awareness of work in the community of Portland and Southwest Washington.
The Oregon Tradeswomen's Career Fair is 100 percent supported by industry sponsors.
Engaging, hands-on workshops are the foundation of the fair, offering exceptional experience for both attendees and workshop presenters. They are led by tradeswomen who showcase unique projects and recruit new employees.
"They can also introduce their kids or family members to the trades," Naylor said. "We hold a fashion show each day here where the tradeswomen turn the model on its head: they come out wearing their gear and explain why and how they got into their career, what they like about it — and how much they make."
Exhibit tables can help inform career seekers about opportunities available at different companies.
"We know conversations are really ramping up about the expense of college and the return on college education, and the deep need for trades workers in our country," Naylor said. "There's such a worker shortage. I bought a really old house last year and can't find anybody to work on it because the tradespeople are scheduled literally a year out at this point."
Exhibits on Friday for schoolgirls include How to Plan Your Own Career Fair; Lunch and Learn: Recruiting Women for Your Jobs; and Recruiting Women and Girls into CTE (career technical education).
Exhibits on Saturday for everyone include Introducing Adult Women Job Seekers to Apprenticeships and Recruiting Women and Girls into CTE.
This year, the event has a mobile app, so attendees can easily find out what's going on when, without shuffling through paperwork.
By Jules Rogers
Reporter, The Business Tribune
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Oregon Tradeswomen 2018 Career Fair
Register as a volunteer: tradeswomen.net/fair/volunteer
When: May 18-19
Where: NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center, 16021 N.E. Airport Way