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Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Four organizations awarded grants through the Women's Economic Security Act (WESA)

Wesa workerIn the spring of 2015, DLI provided $250,000 through the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA) to fund four organizations pledging to educate, promote, assist and support women entering registered apprenticeship training.

The four funded programs are:

  • The Construction Careers Foundation (CCF)
  • The Association of Women Contractors (AWC)
  • WRPT/Big Step in partnership with the Minnesota AFL-CIO
  • Summit Academy, OIC

Two of the programs are focusing efforts to train and place women in apprenticeship programs and the other projects are looking to create sound mentoring systems and general support of new apprentices as they earn and learn. Intentional services dedicated to retention activities, according to national studies, can help bolster apprenticeship completion rates.

The Construction Careers Foundation graduated a class of 18 women in late May and have, to date, placed four women into pipefitting and electrical trades through the Building MN program. There are several additional placements across multiple trades in the works. The foundation has also partnered with WRPT who has provided a mentor for each of these new apprentices and has also delivered financial supports in the form of bus and gas cards and other barrier assistance.

The Association of Women Contractors awarded scholarships to four young women that are currently in registered apprenticeship and urged several of the female business owners to help with recruitment to the Women Building Minnesota Program. The AWC has created a collective of women business owners who have pledged to mentor new apprentices for 18 months and they have also created workshops designed to help women negotiate challenging career issues as they begin work in a male-populated industry.

Summit Academy, OIC, is continuing to grow their Women Wear Hard Hats Too program and are working to train and place women in electrical apprenticeships and as heavy equipment operators.

 

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