On August 19th, nine women along with their families and supporters gathered at the Plumbers Local 5 training center to celebrate the start of a new chapter in their lives. They had successfully completed an innovative program run by the Community Services Agency (CSA) in partnership with Plumbers Local 5 to bring more women into good-paying, union, skilled-trades jobs. "Thanks to Building Futures I have learned to bring the qualities I already have to school and take a chance for a life-changing experience in a new career," said newly-minted graduate Ruby Blackstone, who works as a lifeguard at Howard University, speaking on behalf of the other graduates. The nine women have obtained direct entry into the Plumbers Local 5’s five-year registered apprenticeship program and will start work immediately in good union jobs. "Programs like this offer real hope as a way to begin rebuilding the labor movement and bringing in women who usually don't have access to the trades," said Keith Willis, Job Development Consultant for the CSA's Building Futures program and SEIU retiree. CSA's Building Futures Pre-Apprenticeship program offers hands-on experience in a union trade, an intro to the labor movement and additional wrap-around services to help women enter the union apprenticeship program and succeed. Other support services offered include mentoring and technical assistance to help build a community of local tradeswomen who can share experiences and support each other throughout their nontraditional careers.
For more information about the program email Sylvia Casaro Dietert, CSA Client Services Coordinator at [email protected]
photo: Plumbers' pre-apprentice graduates, participating Plumbers Local 5 instructors, and Emma Brennan, Women in the Trades Project Manager