Federal grant funded to help women enter apprenticeships

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The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced the availability of funding to help recruit, train, and retain more women in quality pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs, and pursue careers in manufacturing, infrastructure, cybersecurity, and healthcare, among other industries. The Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grant helps to expand pathways for women to enter in, and lead in, all industries.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, we have seen a record number of job openings in the United States,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “We must continue our efforts to maximize opportunities for women to enter apprenticeship programs and secure good, family-sustaining jobs.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2016, the year for the most recent data available, women accounted for more than half of all workers within several industry sectors, including education and health services (75 percent), financial activities (52 percent), and leisure and hospitality (51 percent). Women accounted for less than half in several industry sectors, including manufacturing (29 percent), agriculture (25 percent), transportation and utilities (24 percent), mining (13 percent), and construction (9 percent).

Women account for less than 10 percent of individuals enrolled in apprenticeship programs.

The WANTO grant program will award at least $994,000 to community-based organizations to encourage women’s employment in underrepresented occupations and pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. Grants will be awarded to up to six recipients. Organizations applying must provide one or more of the following types of technical assistance:

  • Developing pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, or nontraditional skills training programs to prepare women for those careers;
  • Providing ongoing orientations for employers, unions, and workers on creating a successful environment for women to succeed in those careers; and
  • Setting up support groups and facilitating networks for women to improve their retention.

The 2018 grants are administered by the Department’s Women’s Bureau and the Employment and Training Administration. Visit the Women’s Bureau at https://www.dol.gov/wb/media/wantogrants.htm for more information.

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