Apprenticeship Programs Draw National Spotlight but Not Women

Apprenticeship programs that train workers for well-paying, high-demand jobs have benefited in recent weeks from an infusion of federal money and pledges of support from the president and vice president.

But they’re still short on one thing: women. Women account for fewer than 5 percent of the apprentices in many of the nation’s job-training programs, which tend to be clustered in male-dominated fields like manufacturing and building trades.

At South Seattle Community College, which runs apprenticeships for about 65 different crafts, just 3 to 5 percent of those enrolled are women, according to Holly Moore, executive dean of the college’s Georgetown campus.

The college has teamed up with a group called Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Employment for Women, which offers 12- to 14-week pre-apprenticeship programs that rotate students through jobs and expose them to building trades. Topics covered might include basic power-tool use, mathematics for building trades, blueprint reading, and fitness, to keep up with the physical demands of the jobs.

South Seattle has updated its marketing messages to show women as iron workers and cement masons, and it’s reaching into prisons and the military to suggest options for women serving time or serving their country. <Read more.>

Via Katherine Mangan, The Chronicle of Higher Education.