The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has made $4.1 million available in grants for recruiting, training, mentoring, and hiring women for certain apprenticeships and nontraditional careers. The $4.1 million of funding is a major increase over last year’s awarded amount, which was just under $1.5 million.
In an effort to push and support women into successful careers in typically underrepresented careers – cybersecurity, manufacturing, infrastructure, etc. – the DOL has announced this measure. The goal is to help push more women into quality apprenticeship programs and create paths for women into careers that often see extremely low numbers of females in the workforce.
According to U.S. Secretary of Labor, Eugene Scalia, “Apprenticeships provide a promising avenue for women to gain valuable skills while earning a living.”
Through the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grant program, up to 11 community-based organizations will be selected to split the $4.1 million award. These organizations need to offer one or more of the following types of assistance to qualify for the funding:
Scalia added that grants “will help women gain new skills to succeed in the changing economic environment,” as well as provide “important opportunities for women to work in occupations that traditionally have had fewer women workers.”
Driving more women into apprenticeships will have long term benefits as it creates additional opportunities for both the individual and employers. These programs allow companies more time and a larger talent pool to use to recruit, develop, and retain skilled workers who otherwise may have been overlooked.
Apprenticeships are particularly valuable in the skilled trades involving construction, an industry dominated by male employment. However, other high-growth industries are emphasizing apprenticeships regularly, such as infrastructure, health care, manufacturing, and cybersecurity.
These grants will be administered by the Department’s Women’s Bureau and the Employment and Training Administration. Part of the mission is to develop policies and standards in the interests of working women. The Women’s Bureau specifically strives to advocate for female equality, economic security, and quality work environments. This falls in line with the important focus on creating diverse teams in the workplace, which drives innovation and increased productivity.