Weekly Roundup of the news on women and supportive services in job training programs.

By Rachel Linn

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers. Many women in job training programs, however, face obstacles to success. Wraparound services—such as child care assistance, access to public benefits, and transportation or housing assistance—can help adults, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, to complete programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing. 

March 11, 2016

Duluth Budgeteer: Students try construction trades hands-on

Orrey was one of 650 students from Denfeld and Duluth East high schools who attended Construct Tomorrow, a hands-on exploration of careers in the construction trades for young people, sponsored through a partnership between the Building Trades, the Duluth Public Schools, the City of Duluth and Lake Superior College.

Thoughts like that are exactly why Amy Hoover of Cement Masons Local 633 was there. Hoover is a third-year apprentice who wants to see more women in the trades.

“A lot of them might think, ‘Well, I’m a woman. It’s not something that’s traditionally a choice for me.'” Hoover said. “So my being here is a way of saying, hey, this is something that you too can think about doing, too. If I can, you can.”

March 10, 2016

Denver Post: Construction firms look to untapped resource for workers — women

Eustace and other women in Colorado’s construction industry would love to tip the scales a little more toward female, though, especially as many contractors struggle to find workers to meet construction demand.

A number of Denver-area companies are recruiting women for apprenticeship programs, in hopes of bolstering numbers both in the field and in technical and leadership positions.

“The sky’s the limit within construction for women. There are so many positions and opportunities that are starving for more female candidates,” said Karla Nugent, chief business development officer for Weifield Group Contracting in Denver. “Multitasking, organization, better communication — we really need that in construction. So many of the positions, they will train if you have basic skills they can build on.”

March 10, 2016

Knoxville News-Sentinel: Op-Ed: SNAP to Skills provides path to self-sufficiency

Tennessee has been selected as one of 10 states to take part in a program to help connect some food stamp recipients with the training and assistance they need to get jobs through the new SNAP to Skills program offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

About 80 percent of those using SNAP are seniors or people with disabilities who are unable to work, Vilsack said. SNAP to Skills will focus on the 20 percent who are capable of working but face some barrier to a job such as limited access to transportation or lack of job skills.

State agencies will get help in developing initiatives to help low-income, low-skilled people get the type of training and schooling employers demand. Programs may include job-search training, basic-skills training, English-language learning, vocational training, self-employment or on-the-job training, and job-retention services.

March 9, 2016

Arkansas Online: State effort aims to fill skilled jobs

Thousands of jobs are available in Arkansas with salaries above the state’s average income but there are not enough qualified workers to fill them, state leaders said Tuesday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and representatives from the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, the Delta Regional Authority and Wal-Mart announced the start of an initiative, “Be Pro Be Proud,” to tell Arkansans of the relatively high-paying jobs.

Much information about the jobs and current openings is available at beprobeproud.org, a website developed to promote the higher-paying jobs.

March 9, 2016

Duluth News Tribune: Community Foundation launches $1.5 million grant fund to address opportunity disparity

The Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation aims to address that disparity with the launch of a $1.5 million Opportunity Gap Initiative Fund. That money, from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, will be used to offer grants to partner organizations working to help financially disadvantaged families find pathways to a brighter future.

Zastrow identified several fronts where low-income families could use some help.

“Families lack resources and support systems, including transportation … child care, out-of-school programming, education, housing, health care, job training, financial stability and mental health services,” he said.

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