Women in Trades Celebrate Successes, Christen New Home

By on May 11, 2018

It has been a busy and productive period recently for Missouri Women in Trades (MOWIT). Leadership and members of the organization, which supports women in all construction trades, took time to recount its successes Wednesday night (May 9). The celebration was held with supporters at the organization’s new headquarters at 2929 S. Jefferson.

MOWIT is dedicated to expanding opportunities for women to enter and succeed in apprenticeship and careers in the construction and building trades of the greater St. Louis area. The group works with employers, unions, educational organizations, and other entities and allies to increase women’s equal employment opportunity and equitable working conditions. MOWIT is committed to building a diverse workforce, strong labor movement, safe and healthy worksites, and women’s empowerment and economic security.

MOWIT’s new headquarters is located in a building owned by the Workers Education Society.

Highlights of MOWIT’s activities in 2017-2018 included:

  • Tradeswomen from MOWIT participated in 170 events, including tradeswomen meet ups, workshops, and career fairs and special events.
  • Women interested in construction or already in the trades were offered mentoring, phone or email support, and workshops.
  • The organization assisted eight women in entering the trades.

The organization’s mentoring program, developed with United Way of Greater St. Louis, recognizes that women are often the sole female tradesperson on a job site. The mentoring — in groups and individual sessions — gives trades women a safe place to work through issues they encounter.

MOWIT also holds “survival skills” sessions where women in trades can learn ways to do their jobs better and more efficiently without the baggage that can occur when asking for advice on a male-dominated job site. The classes are taught journey level women.

In 2018 MOWIT is undertaking a mentoring program that pairs participants of the BUD program with seasoned workers.

In 2017 MOWIT Board Chair Beth Barton was part of  a delegation of American tradeswomen to India. That was followed up with  visit by Indian women in trades to St. Louis  and scholarships for MOWIT members to attend the Women Building Nations international conference in Chicago.

One MOWIT member at the meeting an African American woman, recounted how MOWIT and Charles Williams of SLATE helped her cope with getting through the BUD program and passing her Work Keys test as a single mom. Another member, also an African American woman, who has been in the trades for 20 years, said that there needs to be a focus on contractors keeping women working, rather than using them to meet inclusion numbers.

“There’s no sense in training these black women to come out and work for companies that will not keep them working,” she said.

 

 

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