"Apprenticeship programs are effective pipelines into growing industries. But too often, these programs are not as accessible to women,” said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in a June 26 press release.
“The federal grants announced today will better connect women with apprenticeships, helping them to gain skills in fields that offer long-term career opportunities."
According to the Labor Department, the funding will support “innovative projects that improve the recruitment, hiring, training, employment and retention of women in apprenticeships in industries such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and construction.”
The grants will focus on “new and emerging green occupations” as well as two other occupational areas: “existing occupations expected to experience primarily an increase in employment demand” and “existing occupations with significant changes to work and worker requirements.”
Six nonprofit groups will receive grants of $300,000 each, for a total of $1.8 million. Among them is West Virginia Women Work, which offers two work placement programs for women, including “Step Up.” This training program is “designed to prepare adult women for entry-level positions in the construction industry and registered apprenticeships.”
The program provides “hands-on training” in Carpentry, Welding, Electrical Wiring and Masonry. Graduates of the program can work in West Virginia Women Work’s “Eight Penny Construction” company, which does “repairs, painting, weatherization, carpentry projects, and odd jobs.”
“Eight Penny also does cabinet installation, decks, ramps, drywall work and much more,” the organization states.
Grants will also go to: Action for Boston Community Development Inc.; Chicago Women in Trades; Goodwill of North Georgia; Oregon Tradeswoman, Inc.; and WINTER—Women In Non Traditional Employment Roles.
Chicago Women in Trades “works to increase the number of women in the skilled trades and other blue collar occupations and to eliminate the barriers that prohibit women from entering and remaining in non-traditional careers,” according to its website.
“The herstory (sic) of the tradeswomen movement has been the struggle to survive as pioneers in an unwelcoming world and to change conditions that prevent women from being fully integrated into well-paid blue-collar jobs,” the organization states.
Goodwill of North Georgia offers a “Women in Highway Construction” program, a “non-traditional training program for women who like the outdoors and hard work.”
Oregon Tradeswoman -- whose founding principles are that “women deserve and can attain economic self-sufficiency through pursuing highly-skilled, high pay careers in the building, mechanical, electrical and utility trades” -- was also the recipient of a $200,000 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant for “green-collar careers.”
WINTER offers 10-week job training courses for industries such as “environmental remediation,” construction and a “growing field of green jobs.”
The training includes: “Green retrofit building certification” and HAZMAT lead and asbestos abatement education.
The grants will be administered over a two-year period by the Labor Department's Women's Bureau and the Employment and Training Administration's Office of Apprenticeship.
Each group will be required to place at least 50 participants a year and at least 100 participants over the course of the grant into a registered apprenticeship program.