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Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. Collection

Identifier: SPC-2013-003

Scope and Contents

The Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. (OTI) collection (1973-2009, undated; bulk 1991-2003) comprises correspondence, financial documents, budgets, reports, clippings, newsletters, grant proposals, project proposals and drafts, conference and event materials, newsletters and papers of other trades organizations, videocassettes, and other materials relating to OTI. The Papers of Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. series contains newsletters and materials relating to general administrative matters of OTI. The Career Development in The Trades series consists of documents related to grant-funded and community based projects, grant proposals, school and education programs and projects, conferences, events, and workshops, employment opportunities, and educational and research materials. The Tradeswomen Organizations and Related Groups series contains flyers, brochures, newsletters, reports, and other materials from other tradeswomen organizations, unions, and associations. The Media and Ephemera series consists of clippings, video cassettes, and t-shirts that focus on events, training, and educational programs sponsored by a variety of trades organizations. Some of the materials prior to 1999 may refer to Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. (OTI) as Oregon Tradeswomen Network.


  • 1973-2009, undated
  • Majority of material found within 1991-2003



There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. History

While attending a national conference for women in the building trades in 1989, elevator constructor Connie Ashbrook along with three other tradeswomen- two carpenters and an operating engineer, came up with the idea to form Oregon Tradeswomen Network with the objective to assist, support, and provide advocacy for women who work in trades in areas such as mentorship, education, and leadership. Incorporated in 1991, in its earliest days, Oregon Tradeswomen Network acted as a support group that held monthly meetings for tradeswomen to gather and discuss their thoughts and issues. In 1996 founding member Connie Ashbrook was named Executive Director of Oregon Tradeswomen Network. Under her direction, she started seeking out ways in which Oregon Tradeswomen Network could create and promote opportunities for women in the trades. With the help of grants funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Tradeswomen Network began developing more programs and projects that expanded their focus from networking to include education, training, and employment opportunities in building trades for girls and young women. In 1992, Oregon Tradeswomen Network formed The Women in Trades Fair- a one day event featuring exhibits, activities, and workshops dedicated to women and girls. The purpose of the Women in Trades Fair is to increase diversity and the overall number of women working in non-traditional career fields and educate them to the possibility of a future career in trades. What started out as a one day event has now extended into a three day event with days dedicated to middle school girls, high school girls, and women. In 2013, close to 2,000 women and girls attended or participated in the Women in Trades Fair.

In 1998, Oregon Tradeswomen Network founded the Portland Pathways to Success program as a way to assist low-income women through educating them about high-paying careers in construction, building, mechanical, technical, and utility trades. Throughout the years, the Pathways to Success program has offered a variety of opportunities to help prepare women for non-traditional careers, such as assisting women with developing career goals and seeking employment opportunities, mentoring, career planning, offering pre-apprenticeship training classes, and offering technical assistance to employers and apprenticeship programs in order to recruit, hire, and retain women. Along with Pathways to Success, OTI currently offers two other programs. The Building Girls program is geared towards assisting young women by offering basic and hands-on construction skills and safety with tools through a summer camp, work-crew program, and workshops. The Tradeswomen Organized for Outreach, Leadership and Support (T.O.O.L.S) program promotes activism and leadership to give tradeswomen the skills to create a safer and more valuable work environment. The featured event of the T.O.O.L.S. program sponsored with the Labor Education Research Center at University of Oregon provides workshops, activities, and networking opportunities to encourage women to become effective leaders in their unions, companies, and work spaces.

In 1999, Oregon Tradeswomen Network was reorganized as Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. (OTI) - a 501 (c) (3) non-profit. Since its inception, OTI has introduced and mentored thousands of women and girls to training and career opportunities in the trades and apprenticeship programs, educated teachers in regards to skilled trades, and encouraged employers within trade industries to hire women. As of 2013, OTI continues to be a leader in advocating for women in trades with 12 staff members, a board of directors, and over 400 members.


20.48 Linear Feet (document cases; record storage; one oversized container)

44 boxes

Language of Materials



The Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. (OTI) collection contains correspondence, budgets, reports, clippings, newsletters, grant proposals, conference and event materials, papers of other trades organizations, videocassettes, and other materials relating to OTI. The bulk of the materials within this collection focus on OTI’s grant funded and community based projects, and events. Materials related to the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grant primarily focus on the Portland Pathways to Success program and contain reports, surveys, committee meeting minutes, notes, proposals, and statistics. Materials concerning OTI’s annual Women in Trades Fair include documents regarding patrons and sponsors, advertising, programs and flyers, committee meeting minutes and notes, and budgets. In addition, other materials within this collection pertain to topics regarding training and education programs, career opportunities for women and girls, and educational and research material concerning discrimination, apprenticeship, and other topics regarding women in the trades. For digitized material related to all tradeswomen archives collections please consult the Tradeswomen Archives Project.


This collection is arranged into four series and ten sub-series. The series and sub-series arrangement is as follows:

  1. Series I. Papers of Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc., 1991-2005, undated
  2. Sub-series a. Organizational Papers, 1991-2005, undated
  3. Sub-series b. Publications, 1993-2000
  4. Series II. Career Development in the Trades, 1973-2009; bulk 1993-2003
  5. Sub-series a. Grants Funded and Community Based Projects, 1973-2009, undated; bulk 1993-2003
  6. Sub-series b. School and Education Programs and Projects, 1993-2009, undated; bulk 1994-1999
  7. Sub-series c. Events, Workshops, and Conferences, 1991-2008, undated; bulk 1996-2002
  8. Sub-series d. Employment Opportunities, 1997-2005; undated
  9. Sub-series e. Educational and Research Materials, 1976-2008, undated; 1988-2003
  10. Series III. Tradeswomen Organizations and Related Groups, 1989-2008, undated; bulk 1992-2003
  11. Series IV. Media and Artifacts, 1989-2006, undated; bulk 1990-2003
  12. Sub-series a. Clippings, 1995-2006, undated
  13. Sub-series b. Moving Images, 1990-2004, undated
  14. Sub-series c. T-Shirts, 1989-1998, undated

Immediate Source of Acquisition

In support of the Tradeswomen Archives project at California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) initiated by Dr. Vivian Price, Executive Director of Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. Constance Ashbrook donated materials in 2013 regarding women in trades and the activities of the Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.

Related Materials

For related collections please consult: Lynn Shaw Collection; Pat Williams Collection; Vivian Price Collection; Madeline Mixer Collection; Ronnie Sandler Collection; Kelly Baar Collection; Jane Templin Collection; and Molly Martin Collection. For digitized material related to all tradeswomen archives collections please consult the Tradeswomen Archives Project.

Processing Information

Collection was processed by Karen Clemons, 2014; and Allison Wall 2022.

Inventory of the Oregon Tradeswomen, Incorporated Collection
Karen Clemons; Allison Wall
2013; 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2022-07: dates; extents; description for additional material

Repository Details

Part of the California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections Repository

University Library South -5039 (Fifth Floor)
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson CA 90747