Join our team!

We have two positions available, read below to see the details. ¡Gracias!



The CAPACES Leadership Institute (CLI) was established in July of 2011 to prepare emerging leaders in the Latina/o communities of the Mid-Willamette Valley to lead community-based non-profits and for public service.  In Spanish, CAPACES means both “we are capable” and “capabilities”. The acronym stands for Colaboración Adelantando a Personal de Apoyo para Capacitarnos, Enlazarnos y Solidarizarnos (Collaborative Assisting Personnel to Advance our Capacity, Engagement and Solidarity). However, the work began as a project out of PCUN, one of our sister organizations, back in 2003.

The CAPACES Leadership Institute was founded to prepare leaders with the political consciousness and skills needed to lead and support social justice work. We envision a Latina/o community with equitable leadership representation in all sectors that is working to address social disparities. Our guiding values are commitment, courage, humility, equity and justice, sacrifice, and sustainability.

TURNO Support Coordinator

Compensation: $15 per hour (average of 20 hours weekly)

Job ControlExecutive Director

Direct Supervisor: TURNO Program Coordinator      



Talento Universitario Regresando a Nuestros Origenes (TURNO) translated to University Talent Returning to Our Origins is a youth program offered to youth ages 14-18 who attend Woodburn High School’s five academies. TURNO is designed for low income, farmworker, and immigrant youth to learn what social justice is and how it affects their personal day to day lives. It is intended to provide support, guidance and preparation for long-term leadership in the social justice movement and to motivate youth to pursue a higher education and give back to their communities. Youth meet weekly and focus on enhancing their political consciousness through education, civic engagement and leadership development. Developing leaders in our community is part of our mission as an institute, and through this program we begin investing in future leaders.

The ideal candidate will be inspired by and fully committed to CLI’s vision and mission, and will represent the organization in a professional manner among partners, community organizations, families and individuals.



The TURNO Support Coordinator is a part time position that works alongside the Leadership Team and the Coordinator to help carry-out the program activities and ensure program success. The TURNO Support Coordinator reports to the TURNO Program Coordinator.


The Support Staff Coordinator will be required to:

  • Assist in recruit, supervision, and mentoring of new youth participants
  • Assist with the facilitation of weekly after school sessions;
  • Assist students through the completion of youth-led community involvement projects that are aligned to the organization’s and program’s goals
  • Contribute towards creating a culture of respectful collaboration among staff, partners, volunteers, and parents to ensure participants’ safety and the delivery of a culturally inclusive program;
  • Assist with the collection, maintenance, and delivery of program data that may be requested by program stakeholders (funders, partners, etc.)
  • Assist with fundraising related activities for the program
  • Assist with the coordination program event activities (field trips, conferences, trainings)
  • Apply safety practices in all facets of the performance of duties, contact emergency services as needed, and act as a Mandatory Reporter for the safety of the participants
  • Support the long-term and strategic program planning, implementation and vision ensuring that benchmarks are established to measure outcomes of the program
  • Identify and help coordinate community resources to achieve program goals (i.e. volunteers, materials)
  • Help foster and cultivate an environment where trust, respect, professionalism, teamwork, open communication, and strong work ethic are highly valued
  • Attend professional development trainings as needed and share knowledge learned
  • Assist with other organizational activities as needed



  • Commitment to the mission, vision, and values of CLI
  • Experience working with youth in community, work, or academic settings and creating positive youth development activities
  • Knowledge of different computer programs such as word, excel, and power point
  • Strong organization and time management skills
  • Ability to collaborate with diverse populations
  • Current Criminal Background check to be completed prior to employment
  • Certification or Accreditation: CPR/First Aid Certification and Food Handler Certification within first 60 days of employment
  • Bilingual/Bicultural Spanish – English
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to travel


People’s Representative Coordinator 

Salary Range: $35,000- $40,000 annually + Medical & vision benefits, pension

Job ControlExecutive Director

Direct Supervisor: Jaime Arredondo



People’s Representative (PR) is a new leadership program focused on public service training. PR has been designed to serve as a gathering place within the CLI for social justice minded Latina/o leadership in the Willamette Valley. Participants will learn what it takes to successfully position themselves for public service seats with decision making power (i.e. appointment, committees, advisory groups, etc.). The goal of the program’s cohort model is to increase Latina/o political representation, bridge the inequities facing working class populations, and foster new political leadership coming from low-to-moderate income, farmworker, and immigrant backgrounds.



Under the direction of the Executive Director the PR Coordinator’s primary task will be to implement the program’s training component. The coordinator will also assist in developing the programs overall structure. The coordinator will  work one-on-one with fellow staff and volunteers assigned to support PR including facilitators, guest speakers, and a council of advisors. The coordinator will be required to engage staff from sister organizations, network with similar training programs in the region, and be up-to-date on civic leadership vacancies in Marion and Polk counties. Additionally, the coordinator is responsible for familiarizing themselves with and assisting the institute’s general programming as needed.This position may require some evening and weekend hours.



  • Supervise program volunteers
  • Lead the recruitment of program participants
  • Oversee implementation and facilitation of program trainings
  • Attend the organization’s staff meetings
  • Prepare program materials and training day logistics
  • Guide cohort participants to successful completion of training series
  • Ensure facilitators leave a class copy and materials (if new and not in curriculum)
  • Coordinate People’s Reps Development Team Meetings
  • Coordinate meetings with the PR internal and external council of advisors
  • Data entry
  • Create/edit program powerpoint presentations
  • Create/edit program brochures, flyers, e-newsletters, mailings
  • Maintain program materials in secure storage (such as Dropbox or Google Drive)
  • Inform the Executive Director by reviewing & analyzing special reports; summarizing information; identifying trends
  • Coordinate with administrative personnel on calendar and use of the building
  • Assist with the facilitation of other CLI programs as needed
  • General support of other CLI programs as needed
  • Assist organization’s external communication, social media, monthly e-newsletter, and bi-annual appeals as needed
  • Assist development director with grant/foundation reports as needed



  • Speak and write Spanish and English
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Data entry and data entry systems experience
  • Basic computer skills and computer software knowledge (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Gmail)
  • Program development experience in the area of education
  • Experience assisting with the coordination of leadership/education training programs and event logistics



  • Bachelor’s Degree or educational/work experience in any of the following areas: Political Science, Community Development, Sociology, Communications
  • Demonstrate knowledge and experience in program development for Latina/o leadership
  • Experience working in adult education programs
  • Experience with group facilitation
  • Experience evaluating programs, collecting surveys, creating assessment tools
  • Experience working in the non-profit sector



To apply for either position:

Submit a cover letter and resume to: and in the subject line specify the position which you are interested in.

Deadline to apply:

Open until filled. Initial review of applications will begin January 29th.


A Sprint to the Finish Line

On Saturday, August 25th—just under two months from today—we’ll welcome folks from near and far as we formally open the CAPACES Leadership Institute’s permanent home.  We hope you plan to join us, so please mark your calendar (“5:00 PM”) and RSVP to Dalila Ortiz,

The building’s exterior is pretty much finished.  Plants are growing on the living roof.

The “sprint” is the final stage of the construction marathon.  For a few weeks in May, we were stuck in “leak sealing”, pressurizing the interior space to find those elusive spots where air seeped out (and therefore, could seep in when the pressure in normal).  We’re happy to report that, thanks to extraordinary efforts of Greenhammer Construction and our construction crew, we’re on track to meet the “Passivhaus” standard called for in the building design.

With sealing finally done, the interior is rapidly taking final form and finish.  By July 13th—the first anniversary of the Institute’s birth as an independent non-profit—the inside walls will be painted, the concrete floor scrubbed and sealed, bathroom tile done, and the doors and transoms installed.  The door casing and baseboard will be in place ready for painting.  That will leave only light and plumbing fixtures and HVAC system.  Grounds work, including parking lot and side-walks, will be done before the end of July.

It’s taken villages—1,300 volunteers so far, with more still stepping forward as we press to the finish. Meanwhile, we’re planning the Grand Opening festivities.  We’ll have exciting announcements about that in the weeks ahead.


CAPACES Leadership Institute in One Page

A union of Mexican immigrant farmworkers called “PCUN”

…in Woodburn, Oregon,
…constructing a unique building…
… the first “Passive House” commercial or office structure in the United States,
…with no debt, thanks to volunteer labor, donated or discounted supplies and services,
…sourcing innovative, unconventional and salvaged materials,
…to house a grassroots leadership institution,
…dedicated to engaging community leaders—current and future,
…about the values and big ideas that guide the farmworker movement and
…equipping those leaders with the skills to put the big ideas to use,
…leading and growing the CAPACES network of nine sister organizations with 60 staff,
…organizing for workplace justice, building housing, operating an FM radio station,
…providing services, pressing for immigrants’ rights and public education reform:

That’s the CAPACES Leadership Institute.

 The CAPACES Leadership Institute builds on three decades of community organizing led by Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), Oregon’s farmworker union.  PCUN has created and united a network of nine community-based organizations that we call the “CAPACES” network.  Among the CAPACES organizations’ accomplishments are:

  • Building and managing 188 units of farmworker housing,
  • Building and operating Radio Movimiento (a low-power FM radio station),
  • Assisting 6,000 immigrants to gain legal immigration status,
  • Defeating dozens of anti-immigrant legislative proposals,
  • Training 1,000 immigrant parents for school involvement, and
  • Registering 3,000 Latino voters.

80% of our 100 key leaders are Latino immigrants or from immigrant families, 60% are women, and 50% are under 35 years of age.  Most had no prior leadership experience and no formal leadership training.

Now open, the Institute will prepare leaders to add to these accomplishments:

  • Building or acquiring 88 more units of low-income housing in three communities, a nearly 50% increase by 2013, and Expanding resident leadership training;
  • Collaborating with the new Center for Popular Democracy, based in New York, taking out leadership methods to a national level;
  • Deepening the “CAPACES de Verde” dialogues:  “green” developers and immigrant workers, answering questions like “where do ‘green cards’ fit in the ‘green’ world?”


You’re Invited…

The Grand Opening Celebration for the CAPACES Leadership Institute’s new building is on Saturday, August 25th.  We hope you’ll put it on your calendar right now (if it’s not already there) and make plans to join us.

Planning for the Celebration is well underway.  We expect to have exhibits about the construction process, tours, information about the Institute’s programs (a number are already underway), plus an exciting and unique mix of hundreds of folks from around the country and around the corner.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes expect to join in headlining the program.  We’ve invited U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and she’s hoping that her schedule permits a trip across the country to be with us.  This list of luminaries who’ve expressed interest is growing.

We expect activities of the day will begin mid-afternoon and that the program and ceremony will commence around 5:00 PM.  A formal invitation will go out soon and we’ll ask that folks notify us if they plan to attend.

If you have questions, please contact the Institute’s Executive Director, Laura Isiordia, at

We’re counting on seeing you in August!


The Spirit Was With Us

Last Sunday April 22nd, incense glowed inside the CLI building.  More precisely, “Earth Scent” and “Full Moon”, and candles were burning as well.

Was it a spiritual ceremony?  Actually, that occurred the previous day before when the Huitzilopochtli dance group performed an indigenous ritual blessing for the sedums.  An hour later, volunteers nestled them into the soil up on the living roof.  Beginning last fall, volunteers had painstakingly propagated the plant-starts in the back yard of the radio house, next door.  Plant types include “Sedum Oreganum”, “Sedum Album Murale”, “Sedum Hispanicum” (we’re not making this up!).

The incense, however, had nothing to do with religion, cultural or ceremony.  Its smoke curls wafted entirely in service to the science of “Passivhaus” design.  Volunteers held smoldering sticks near the frames of the triple-pane windows and exterior doors.  They’d just been installed and we were testing for air leaks around the frames and thesholds.

At the heart of “Passivhaus” design and building is achieving air tightness.  Our lead construction consultant, Gene Wixson, set up a “blower-door” test, moderately pressurizing the building’s interior air (though not enough to make your ears pop).  The lower pressure outside pulls interior air (and incense smoke) toward even the smallest holes; we promptly re-taped those spots or filled them with sealant.

Sunday’s test took us about half way to a passing grade for building envelope tightness.  Right after pressurizing, Gene took a reading of 600 cubic feet of air exchange per minute.  After the incense-wanding around the doors and a third of the windows, he got it down to about 450.  We need to reach 300 to receive Passivhaus certification.  At that level, the CLI building will maintain an air leakage level of less than 10% of the average commercial buildings.

This past weekend’s volunteers, including a group from Staples corporate headquarters and a group of Jewish high school students from Havurah Shalom and Tivnu in Portland, made a valuable contribution to the construction and took away some lasting memories.  They join the CLI’s volunteer corps that’s surpassed 1,000 (and counting!), part of what we call the “10,000 fingerprints” campaign.

The building is now about 80% complete and the pace is quickening.  The next few weeks will see completion of interior insulation, drywall, plus install of interior doors, trim and cabinets.

And we’re gearing up for the Grand Opening on August 25th, exactly four months from today!  The smell of incense will, by then, be long gone, but our spirits will be higher than ever.