Diversifying the Skilled Work force

In a time when the number of skilled laborers continues to decline, Chicago Women in Trades is working to train and educate an often overlooked and underrepresented source of trade workers.

March 31, 2003

In a time when the number of skilled laborers continues to decline, Chicago Women in Trades is working to train and educate an often overlooked and underrepresented source of trade workers.

Operating for 22 years, Chicago Women in Trades offers pre-apprenticeship, preparatory training through its Technical Opportunities Program, which gives students the tools and guidance to apply for full apprenticeships as skilled carpenters, masons, electricians, plumbers or within other trades.

Aligned with its other landmark program - Trades-women of Tomorrow, a partnership with Chicago Public Schools designed for school-age girls - the organization’s goal is to diversify the face of the construction industry while expanding women’s career opportunities.

"Through the program, young women can make educated choices about their goals and employment options," says Melissa Barbier, director of the girls' programs. "They learn that they like to work with their hands and appreciate the higher wages the trades provide."

For more on these programs, visit the Web site www.chicagowomenintrades.org.

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