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Hammer and a Helping Hand

Oregon Tradeswomen rang in the New Year setting up our new home in the Rockwood neighborhood, a feat accomplished with the help of our generous supporters. To say thank you, we are shining a light on some of our business partners who made this move possible. Starting with our friends at Hammer & Hand, a local general contractor started by two Reed College graduates, Sam Hagerman and Daniel Thomas, who began their carpentry careers by remodeling historic Portland homes. Hammer & Hand has since expanded to include new home-building, commercial construction, handmade windows and doors, and executing traditional and modern designs created by the Pacific Northwest’s top architectural firms.

Because the founders developed their skills as carpenters through remodeling beautiful historic buildings, they are guided by an ethic of quality, durability, and beauty in all of their projects. Hammer & Hand has made a name for themself as a national leader in high-performance and quality-assured durability having authored two editions of their Best Practices Manual, a compendium of their field-tested construction details, many informed by their experience in high-performance passive building. A third edition of this guidebook is slated for this summer.

Hammer & Hand is a company of carpenters, and they don’t operate like a typical single-source “design-build” firm. Instead, their process involves partnering with an independent architect and getting the design team, the general contractor, and client together in a dynamic collaborative process that ensures a well-rounded approach to the project to satisfy budget, aesthetics, and buildability. Hammer & Hand’s goal is to makes each clients’ dreams a reality while building to last.

Their commitment to great work doesn’t end here. Hammer & Hand is dedicated to empowering their employees. Because of their commitment to workforce happiness, Hammer & Hand sees very little employee turnover and has team members who have been with the company for a long time, including career carpenters who have celebrated 15 and 20 year anniversaries over the past few years. Hammer & Hand is also committed to workplace diversity and actively hires women – including a few Oregon Tradeswomen graduates!

Hammer & Hand demonstrates their commitment to Oregon Tradeswomen’s mission not only by giving our graduates an exceptional place to grow in their careers as carpenters, but they made an incredibly generous donation to helping us acquire a training space of our own. Oregon Tradeswomen’s new headquarters in Rockwood, complete with classroom and workshop, allows us the capacity to expand our training to serve more women in more ways. We are grateful for Hammer & Hand’s investment in our growth as an organization and we look forward to the bright future we are building together.


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Welcome Leah Rambo to the National Taskforce on Tradeswomen’s Issues

The National Taskforce on Tradeswomen’s Issues recently announced that Leah Rambo is now serving as the new Co-Chair of the National Taskforce on Tradeswomen’s issues.

Leah began her career as a sheet metal worker in 1988 and after working 10 years in the field, she was appointed as a full-time instructor, becoming the first woman to hold this position. She continues to hold the position of Director of Training for SMART Local 28, where her primary responsibility is training Local 28’s 521 apprentices and 2,300 Journey and Light Commercial workers!

Leah currently serves on the New York City Department of Education’s Career and Technical Education Advisory Council and Gender Equity Committee and is the Co-Chair of the NYC Coalition for Women in Construction. Leah holds a BA in Labor Education and several trade certifications.

To learn more about Leah Rambo and her journey into the trades, watch this video interview with Leah published last year!

Posted on by OTI Staff in Career Path, tradeswomen | Leave a comment

A Gift From 99 Girlfriends


Representatives of the 5 Non-Profit Winners of 99 Girlfriend’s Impact Grants!

We at Oregon Tradeswomen are big fans of stories that start with a couple of friends and a bold idea. In 30 years, Oregon Tradeswomen has grown from small support group meetings in a basement to a dynamic nonprofit. Today, Oregon Tradeswomen offers hands-on training, job placement, supportive services, and advocacy for women, trans, and gender-diverse people seeking fulfilling, living-wage careers in the skilled trades. We’ve experienced first-hand the power of coming together to create meaningful change in our community. 

In 2017, a few friends here in Portland had a similar idea; what if, instead of each of them making many donations to Portland’s nonprofits, they pooled their resources in order to make a significant impact? The result was Ninety-Nine Girlfriends, a women’s giving circle currently comprised of 480 members. This model of one person asking a friend to join her and pitch in, to use her resources to lift others up, is very near to our hearts! In its first year, Ninety-Nine Girlfriends made one $100,000 grant to a Portland nonprofit. In 2019, they were able to offer five such awards, one in each of their focus areas:

  • Arts & Culture
  • Education & Lifelong Learning
  • Environment & Sustainability
  • Family & Human Services
  • Health & Wellness.

Oregon Tradeswomen is honored to be a 2019 recipient of Ninety-Nine Girlfriend’s Impact Grant. This transformational gift will go a long way in helping Oregon Tradeswomen achieve our long-time goal of expanding training options with evening and weekend classes once we are settled in our new location and training workshop in early 2020. We want to thank each and every one of the 480 Girlfriends for their support and generosity.

Oregon Tradeswomen is especially grateful to Vanessa Vasquez, Isis Harris, and Heather Mayther, who shared their stories during the application and review process.

Thank you, Ninety-Nine Girlfriends, for your support and generosity, and to all our funders and individual donors who have supported us this year.

To find out more information about 99 Girlfriends and their 2019 Grantee Partner winners, please visit their website here!

Happy Holidays,

Oregon Tradeswomen


Posted on by OTI Staff in About Oregon Tradeswomen, Community Partners | Leave a comment

454 SE 187th Avenue, Portland, OR 97233; phone: 503.335.8200  |  fax: 503.249.0445