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News Release, U.S. Department of Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor has announced $4.1 million in grants available to community organizations to recruit, mentor, train and retain more women in quality apprenticeship programs, and to help those women pursue successful careers in manufacturing, infrastructure, cybersecurity, healthcare and other industries.

“Apprenticeships provide a promising avenue for women to gain valuable skills while earning a living,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “The grants announced today will help women gain new skills to succeed in the changing economic environment created by coronavirus, while also providing important opportunities for women to work in occupations that traditionally have had fewer women workers.”

The Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grant program will award $4.1 million to up to 11 community-based organizations to encourage women’s employment in apprenticeship and nontraditional occupations. To be eligible, applicants must provide one or more of the following types of technical assistance:

  • Developing pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship or nontraditional skills training programs to prepare women for those careers;
  • Providing ongoing orientations for employers, unions and workers on creating a successful environment for women to succeed in those careers; and
  • Setting up support groups, facilitating networks and/or providing supportive services for women to improve their retention.

“Women are significantly underrepresented in apprenticeship programs and in high-growth, high-wage science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations generally,” said Women’s Bureau Director Laurie Todd-Smith. “We are proud to administer grant funding that supports women while they pursue apprenticeships. These programs ultimately allow them to improve their skills while becoming increasingly self-sufficient.”

Apprenticeships offer workers new opportunities and help companies recruit, develop and retain a highly skilled workforce. In addition to their long history in skilled trades such as construction, apprenticeships are also increasingly found in emerging and high-growth industries like manufacturing, infrastructure, cybersecurity, and health care.

The 2020 grants are administered by the Department’s Women’s Bureau and the Employment and Training Administration. For information about the program, see the Department’s Frequently Asked Questions. A list of 2019 recipients can be found on the Women’s Bureau WANTO page.

The Women’s Bureau’s mission is to develop policies and standards that safeguard the interests of working women, to advocate for their equality and economic security, and to promote quality work environments.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.


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