The Driving Diversity in Portland program is paving new pathways for women and people of color. Last week, 12 new students graduated from the program, which offers training and career opportunities to those historically underrepresented in the recycling and waste industry. “It’s been a life changer,” exclaimed recent program graduate Raul Ramirez “It’s gotten me a great career, on the right path. And it’s something I can look forward to and be proud of.”
Ramirez said the program has helped increase diversity. “It’s important because this world is diverse and everyone deserves an opportunity,” he said. Ramirez now works for Waste Management and is part of the program’s fast growing legacy of success, with 80% of graduates already employed as industry drivers in Portland.
The training teaches hands-on skills, offering participants the opportunity to visit transfer stations, landfill sites and recycling centers during the program. The program also prepares students to take the Oregon Commercial Driver License (CDL) test and offers graduates the opportunity to interview with local employers.