June 18th, 2024

Journeyman Start program helping women get into trades

By Herald on August 20, 2021.

Sparks fly as a student practices welding as part of the Journeyman Start program put on by Women Building Futures and Lethbridge College. Herald photo by Al Beeber

Al Beeber – Lethbridge Herald

A collaboration between Lethbridge College and a non-profit organization called Women Building Futures is giving women education in trades and construction.

The 12-week Journeyman Start program started July 5 with 10 women being introduced to a range of opportunities in LC’s School of Trades.

Students are learning various skills in carpentry, heavy-duty mechanics and welding as well as getting wind turbine technician training. They’re also learning electrical skills.

The program is funded in part by the Women in Construction Fund, run by the federal government. This allows women to study without tuition costs.

Carla Moen, CEO and president of the WBF, said Thursday the program gives unemployed and underemployed women the training to take control of their lives while giving them economic stability for themselves and their families.

“We see this all the time now the number of years we’ve been running our programs, our network of more than 2,400 alumni across the province spreads the word. They tell people that ‘I didn’t know I could be successful in the trades and look at me now,’” Moen said.

“We provide them with not only support on the front end and helping them understand if they’re ready. But throughout the 12 to 16 weeks they spend with us in this program, we also spend time building their confidence so they are able to walk very confidently into employment.

“The other important part is this just isn’t about initially getting women employed; this is about getting women employed in secure roles that they can raise families with. For in order for us to do that and support our students and alumni in doing that, we partner with employers of choice,” Moen said.

“That helps the women moving onto those sites continue with maintaining their voice; we also encourage them. From what I understand in many years past, women would graduate from the programs and would often be given the advice ‘get in there, work hard, don’t make any ripples.’ And today what we tell them is show up as your true and genuine self because that diverse perspective that women bring to those job sites is truly, truly valued,” Moen said.

WBF, said Moen, “is a longstanding non-profit organization based in Edmonton region for more than 20 years primarily supporting introductory construction trades training for women. Our focus is connecting them on a path to economic security and we do this not only through the training but also support the removal of barriers along the way, so things like their general awareness for opportunity, their personal situation, financial situation, confidence. So we spend a lot of time working on those areas with them,” Moen added.

“The social side of what we do helps women, often at many times single moms, connect themselves to very secure futures” while creating a workplace that more accurately addresses the real world, she said.

“And the beautiful secondary outcome of this we are at the same time actually adjusting the face of industry to better reflect the general population.”

“Getting women into that training and certainly the women that recognize that it is the right thing for them is a huge point of focus for us,” Moen said.

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