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Commissioner's Message
BOLI: committed to supporting workers and employers
Dear Friends:
 
To remain an effective supporter for both workers and employers, BOLI has to continue to pursue process improvements and look for ways to be even more economical with the resources invested in us.  Successful organizations have to be flexible and respond to change in order to stay effective.
 
But BOLI’s commitment to defending civil rights and advancing employment opportunities for all Oregonians does not change.
 
I take our responsibilities to the people of Oregon very seriously and I know that BOLI’s employees feel the same way.  We are proud to be part of the agency that goes to bat for Oregonians facing unlawful discrimination and that plays an integral role in training the 21st century workforce that will drive Oregon’s economy.  Every aspect of BOLI’s work promotes a stronger, healthier economy for all of us to enjoy, and being part of those efforts is really invigorating: it makes you want to help even more.
 
Earlier this month I spoke at the graduation celebration for Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.’s most recent pre-apprenticeship training program.  You can view a short clip from my remarks.  What I made clear that night is very simple: Oregon’s economy needs everyone in a position to contribute.  That’s why BOLI is supporting so many different efforts to skill-up current workers, prepare the next generation of workers for high-wage careers, and support Oregon employers.  Our strong, lasting partnerships with Oregon Tradeswomen and other groups are exceptionally valuable to this work.
 
The upcoming BOLI Business Leadership Awards are just one way that we remain committed to supporting Oregon’s outstanding employer community.
 
At BOLI’s 28th Annual Employment Law Conference, coming up on November 29th this year, we’ll recognize employer champions in civil rights, fair workplaces and workforce development for going above and beyond to build a better, stronger economy in our state.  Part of that recognition is a package of prizes provided by BOLI’s Technical Assistance for Employers Program, which can help any Oregon employer avoid unfortunate mistakes that might even land the company in court.
 
You can nominate a deserving employer for a BOLI Business Leadership Award this year just by sending us an email.  You are welcome to nominate several employers across the three categories, or even nominate a really exceptional employer in all three categories if you like.  These personal nominations go a long way in telling us just what kind of impact an employer is having on their workers and community. 
 
I want to recognize outstanding Oregon employers again this year, and I need your input to help me find the best and most deserving.  Send in those nominations as soon as you can.
 
Sincerely,
 

 

 
 
 
BOLI Wins Fair Housing Settlements
Southeast Portland's Skylark Apartments have settled charges of unlawful housing discrimination against a woman whose young son needed a companion dog to cope with severe anxiety and depression.  In addition to the monetary payment, respondents agreed to provide training to all their staff, revise policies and promotional materials and provide ongoing monitoring reports to BOLI's Civil Rights Division. 
 
View media reports:
 
 
The Brookshore Apartments in Albany have settled charges of unlawful housing discrimination that alleged that a disabled former tenant was allowed the accommodation of a companion cat, only to later be charged a non-refundable pet deposit.  Beyond the monetary consideration, respondents committed to provide training to their staff, educational advertising about companion animals in a community newspaper and two years of monitoring of all reasonable accommodation requests from tenants and applicants.
 
 
Apprentice Spotlight: Liz Stewart
Working on the Block 49 Project, what will be “Gray’s Landing” on Portland’s South Waterfront, is an upbeat, 26-year-old laborer apprentice named Liz Stewart.  She’s already had 1.5 yards of concrete dumped on her on this job, which would dampen the spirits of a lot of Oregonians, but not Liz. “I still feel really lucky,” she says with a grin.
 
That lucky feeling goes beyond just escaping concrete: Liz found a job that she really enjoys.  And it came along when she really needed it.
 
When her Oregon National Guard unit returned from a tour in Iraq, Liz remembers that jobs felt really scarce.  So when the laborers union came to a reintegration event talking about career opportunities, it was a no-brainer for her and several of her comrades.
 
“I always kind of knew that apprenticeship was out there,” Liz says.  “My uncle is an electrician, and I had a middle school shop class, but BOLI's latest outreach efforts might have gotten me on the right path sooner. When I sat down and really looked at the information, I was sold.”
 
Liz, who had done some non-union laborer work after high school, came into her apprenticeship ready to work hard.  She’s seen some other apprentices who became disillusioned at not working all the time, but feels like her steady work is a product of putting in the effort to make sure an employer knows you can get the job done.
 
The lucky feeling extends to Liz’s whole apprenticeship experience.  She’s a big fan of the laborers union and is especially thankful for the support of Aida Aranda, the Laborers’ Apprenticeship Coordinator that helps keep young apprentices on track to succeed.  Her experience on the Block 49 Project has been great, leading to positive reviews for her bosses from Walsh and RDF Construction. 
 
Where would Liz be now if not for apprenticeship?  “Probably working at Subway,” she says without hesitating.  And then another grin.
 
It’s easy to get the sense that Liz's positive attitude would make her successful on other paths as well.  But there's no denying the happy intensity as, just a couple of weeks from third term in her apprenticeship, the Hillsboro High School grad sums up her path to apprenticeship in Oregon: "I feel lucky.  I'm really glad I've had the opportunity."
 
The TA Tracker
Technical Assistance for Employers Program, so far this calendar year
 
TRAINING SERVICES:
BROUGHT TO THESE COUNTIES:
BOLI Technical Assistance seminars:
Lane, Marion, Multnomah, Baker, Umatilla, Jackson, Douglas
Public seminars hosted by local OECs:
Coos, Linn-Benton, Lane, Malheur, Union, Curry, Multnomah, Josephine, Washington
Private, customized on-site trainings:
Lane, Multnomah, Marion, Washington, Douglas
Total training days logged since Jan. 1
90
 
To learn more about TA’s various services and how they can help your business, visit our webpage​We value your support! 
 
 
 
 
 
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