Caryn Appler

Women’s business network plans brown bag lunch

LA GRANDE — Spark, a women’s business network, is holding a brown bag lunch Jan. 21 featuring a presentation by Caryn Appler of Energy Trust Oregon. Appler will talk about ETO’s programs and cash incentives. The free gathering begins at noon at IGNITE, 104 Depot St., La Grande. Women are invited to bring a lunch and take advantage of the opportunity to network.

Grow your business by working with government agencies

LA GRANDE — Business owners who are interested in doing business with state and federal agencies or would like a refresher on state and federal certifications are invited to a free training event Jan. 23 at the EOU Small Business Development Center, based at the Integrated Services Building, 1607 Gekeler Lane, La Grande. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Grande Ronde River Room.

This training will provide an overview on doing business with state and federal agencies, the registrations required, and state and federal certifications you may be qualified for. Presentations will be from the Oregon Government Contracting Assistance Program (GCAP), the Small Business Administration (SBA), Certification Office for Business Information and Diversity (COBID), Oregon Procurement Information Network (ORPIN), US Army Corps of Engineer and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

Registration is required. Contact the SBDC at -541-962-1532 or register online at

Free training offered to existing and aspiring entrepreneurs

NORTHEAST OREGON — Northeast Oregon Economic Development District is offering a free Business Foundations series beginning in January in Union, Baker and Wallowa counties. This six-week hands-on course is designed to help existing and aspiring entrepreneurs and small-business owners build the basis for a successful business.

Two sessions of the series will be offered in each county:

  • La Grande: Tuesdays, Jan. 28 to Mar. 10, 2-5 p.m. or 6-9 p.m.; at IGNITE, 104 Depot St.
  • Baker City: Wednesdays, Jan. 29 to Mar. 11, 2-5 p.m. or 6-9 p.m.; at LaunchPad Baker, 2019 Main St.
  • Enterprise: Thursdays, Jan. 30 to Mar. 12; 1-4 p.m. at Enterprise City Hall, 102 E. North St.; or 6-9 p.m. at Building Healthy Families, 207 E. Park St.

Class size is limited in each location. Register by Jan. 24 at or contact NEOEDD at 541-426-3598, 800-645-9454, or Preference is made to people with low-to-moderate incomes (income verification is required).

BTI provides high-tech heavy equipment operator training to OYA students

BAKER CITY — Baker Technical Institute is partnering with Multnomah Educational Service District and the Oregon Youth Authority to provide 80 hours of introductory heavy equipment operator training for its students at the Oak Creek facility in Albany. BTI will utilize its mobile operator training platform equipped with the latest technology of virtual reality CAT simulators to train on heavy construction equipment such as dozers, graders, wheel loaders and excavators.

“Being able to take this training right to their location and provide these students with employable skills that are in demand across the nation is exciting,” BTI President Doug Dalton said in a press release.

The training is the result of a proactive approach of MESD/OYA leadership in providing students with career and technical training that can lead to high-demand high-wage jobs after being released. Upon completion of the course, the students can earn a certificate of completion showing their training levels for each piece of equipment that they reach the minimum operating standards on.

BTI heavy equipment instructor Dawson Vanderwiele grew up in a family of heavy equipment operators and has been running them herself for as long as she can remember. Three years ago she became the first female trained instructor in the nation on CAT simulators.

For more information about the heavy equipment operator school at BTI or to enroll in one of the various other programs visit or call 541-524-2651.

How does dominant culture and exclusion show up in our organizations?

LA GRANDE — Northeast Oregon Economic Development District, based in Enterprise, will continue its public programs and roundtable discussions in Union County for volunteers, boards and staff members to learn, share and discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) methods and strategies. On Feb. 5-6, Alexis James will lead two events in La Grande focusing on what it means to be a “white ally,” both held at Cook Memorial Library, 2006 Fourth St., La Grande.

A roundtable and training will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 5. In this session participants will unpack the concepts of whiteness and white fragility while building practical skills to effectively interrupt exclusionary practices when they show up in work and workplaces. The cost of the roundtable is $25, which includes lunch. Register at or contact NEOEDD at 541-426-3598 or

The community is welcome at an Oregon Humanities Conversation Project gathering entitled “White Allyship in Close-Knit Communities” at 6 p.m. Feb. 6. The Conversation Project is free and open to the public. In this conversation led by facilitator Alexis James, participants will have the chance to explore their identities, learn how to acknowledge different lived experiences without alienating friends and neighbors, and move toward action in their own communities.

James is a longtime educator and innovator. She supports organizations and individuals in activating contemporary responses to leadership development and employee needs through training, coaching, and team building.

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