DOL Grants Promote Women in ‘Nontraditional’ Jobs

    Nearly $2 million for women in manufacturing, construction and IT

By Dana Wilkie Apr 4, 2014
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Nearly $2 million in federal grants is now available to help organizations recruit, train and retain women in fields in which they’ve traditionally been underrepresented.

The U.S. Department of Labor on April 2, 2014, announced that it has $1.8 million in grants available through its Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations program. The program was created to remove barriers for women entering so-called “nontraditional” fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation, energy, construction and information technology.

Within these industries, the grants will fund activities that focus on occupations expected to experience an increase in employment demand, occupations with significant changes to work and worker requirements, and new and emerging “green” occupations.

“Having half of our population underrepresented in the high-skill, high-paying jobs of the future isn’t good for the economic prosperity of our country,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said in a press release.

Among those who can apply for the grants are community-based organizations that have technical assistance resources for the DOL’s Registered Apprenticeship programs. Those programs combine job-related technical instruction with on-the-job learning experiences. Such programs are particularly active in industries such as construction and manufacturing, but they’re also being used increasingly in emerging industries such as health care, energy and homeland security.

Community-based organizations can use four of the grants to create regional centers that ease women into nontraditional occupations by offering pre-apprenticeship training to prepare women for Registered Apprenticeship programs; orientations on helping women succeed in apprenticeships; and child care, transportation and support groups for women in these industries.

The grants are not new; the DOL has made a similar amount available in recent years for the same purposes. In recent years, $300,000 grants from this program have gone to Goodwill of North Georgia Inc. in Atlanta; West Virginia Women Work in Morgantown, W.V.; Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. in Portland, Ore.; Chicago Women in Trades in Illinois; and Women In Non Traditional Employment Roles in Los Angeles.

The grants are administered by the DOL’s Women’s Bureau, a 91-year-old organization that is the federal agency mandated to represent the needs of wage-earning women in the public-policy process, and the bureau’s Office of Apprenticeship.

Each grantee will be required to place at least 50 participants annually and at least 100 participants over the life of the two-year grant into a registered apprenticeship program.

Information on grant applications is available at

Dana Wilkie is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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