Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership’s Big Step program is working with other training groups around the country to bring more women into the trades as part of an attempt backed by a U.S. Department of Labor grant.
WRTP | Big Step is working with six other training groups as part of the disruptHer Consortium, which aims to bring women into once male-dominated fields, including construction.
The Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau is contributing a $750,000 grant over the next two years to the consortium, which concentrates on metro areas where women are more likely to be the head of a household, but where women’s wages tend to lag the national average.
“We are grateful to the Department of Labor for their investment in this key workforce demographic and issue,” said Lindsay Blumer, WRTP | Big Step’s president and CEO, in a statement. “No career should be seen as primarily male or female, and we have a lot of work to do to change perceptions and cultures so that our daughters know they can enter any occupation and excel, working alongside colleagues from every sex and gender. This kind of diversity will only make industries better and more competitive.”
Among other goals, the consortium is meant to provide guidance to apprentices, give technical assistance to help employers and labor unions increase the number of women in a given occupation, improve programs designed specifically for women and establish a shareable system of best practices. In addition to the construction industry, the consortium’s partners include organizations training workers in the transportation, aerospace and manufacturing industries.
WRTP | Big Step’s project partners include: Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee, West Oakland Jobs Resource Center, California – Workforce & Economic Development Program, Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building & Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO, Equus Workforce Solutions, and the Machinist Training Institute 751.