“BRICCPath” to provide low-income women with tools for success in apprenticeship, career path jobs
Action for Boston Community Development received a $300,000 federal grant this week from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations program.
The grant will fund ABCD BRICCPath (Building Real Careers in Construction), a comprehensive “career exploration” approach to increasing the numbers of women working in the construction trades and other non-traditional careers. The program will work with women candidates and employers to address the systemic gaps and barriers to building a pipeline of qualified women in non-traditional careers.
ABCD is one of six programs nationwide that received funding from the $1.8 million federal initiative to support women in non-traditional occupations.
In announcing the grants, U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis stated that the funding will focus on existing occupations that are expected to experience increased employment demand, significant changes to work and worker requirements and emerging green occupations.
Solis said that the grant money aims to better connect women with apprenticeships and help them to learn skills in fields that have long-term career opportunities. “Apprenticeship programs are effective pipelines into growing industries,” she said. “But too often these programs are not accessible to women.”
Massachusetts’ Senators and Congressmen praised the initiative:
Senator John Kerry said: “This is an investment in breaking that glass ceiling in fields historically dominated by men. This is job training and job placement help so women get jobs, move up, and have the resources to provide for themselves and their families. I’m grateful to Secretary Solis for partnering with the incredible team at ABCD to make this important initiative possible.”
Senator Scott Brown stated: “I’m proud to support this funding for programs and training to help women in Boston obtain long-term, good-paying jobs,” he said. “As we continue to feel the effects of the bad economy, career development opportunities like this are critical for the job-seekers in our communities.”
Noting ABCD’s track record, Congressman Mike Capuano said: “For years ABCD had done great work in the community, helping low-income families with fuel assistance, early childhood education, housing and many other services. These federal funds will help ABCD prepare women for jobs in the construction trades, increasing their access to employment opportunities.”
Stated Congressman Stephen F. Lynch: “I've had the opportunity to work beside union building tradeswomen whose skill and ability in their craft is superb. They have become masters at their trade. It is through these apprenticeship programs, mostly offered by our trade unions, that we will promote and sustain a tradition of women entering and thriving in prosperous careers in the construction trades,” I am pleased to see that this grant will assist ABCD in helping to provide women of all races and backgrounds with these opportunities.”
Congressman Edward J. Markey said: "I congratulate the ABCD team for their commitment to helping low-income women construct better lives for themselves. Through construction trade apprenticeships and other non-traditional trade training, this funding will provide low-income women with the tools they need to build new careers and create better lives. With this grant, ABCD now also stands for “Achieving Better Careers and Dreams”, and I commend its commitment to putting women to work in good-paying industries."
“This is all about giving poor women, many of them single-parent heads of households, the ability to get and keep a job in the construction industry or other non-traditional field where they earn better than a living wage,” said ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew. “ABCD will recruit low-income women candidates who will complete an initial training period and be placed in apprenticeship training or career-path jobs. Initial wages will average $18.92 an hour for construction and $16.24 for non-construction employment. This is almost twice what they earn at the minimum-wage jobs many are holding now!”
BRICCPath builds on ABCD’s past successful Building Real Careers in Construction (BRICC) program launched in 2008 and funded for several years by DOL to provide pre-apprenticeship training to women seeking employment in the construction trades as electricians, laborers, plumbers, bricklayers, carpenters, roofers and more.
BRICCPath will accelerate the pathway to apprenticeships and career opportunities and ensure that women sustain those goals and build solid careers and that employers have the capacity to continue supportive services and maintain needed system changes after the conclusion of the grant.
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