Best Practices

Around the country, tradeswomen’s organizations, apprenticeship programs, unions, contractors, and tradeswomen themselves are creating and implementing effective strategies for recruiting and retaining women in the trades. The Center is collecting these best practices to provide an in-depth look at the elements that make these strategies so effective.

How Apprenticeship Programs in Construction Trades Can Establish Family-Friendly Policies – The construction industry’s lack of pregnancy and family medical leave policies can limit women’s ability to complete apprenticeships successfully and safely, often forcing tradeswomen to choose between their work and their families. This brief provides information and best practices on how construction employers can offer these crucial benefits.

Advancing Women in Manufacturing: Perspectives from Women on the Shop Floor – Careers in manufacturing can provide high earnings and good benefits. After years of decline,the manufacturing industry is growing again. Manufacturing employs one in ten workers in the United States but fewer than a third of workers are women,and women are particularly underrepresented in many higher-earning shop floor positions that typically do not require a four-year college degree. The report examines the various factors that can either facilitate or impede women’s participation and advancement in the manufacturing industry, and highlights the urgent need for change in the manufacturing industry to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the population of the 21st century.

Here to Stay: Black, Latina and Afro-Latina Women in Construction – Black and Latina women remain severely underrepresented in registered trade apprenticeships. The brief lifts up the voices of early-career tradeswomen and underscores the many benefits from working in the construction trades, but also the obstacles many of them face, including not having the full range of training and work experiences, consistent employment, and unwelcoming workplaces.

Pregnancy and Maternity in the Trades: Good Practices for Apprentices –  One of the hallmarks of the union construction trades is the quality of the benefits provided to their members.  As greater numbers of women enter the trades, the Ironworkers International Union became the first building trades union to adopt a comprehensive pregnancy and maternity leave policy.  Learn about this groundbreaking achievement and why other unions should follow their lead.

Growing the Numbers of Women in the Trades: Building Equity and Inclusion Through Pre-Apprenticeship Programs – Though women are still make up a tiny minority of the construction workforce, their numbers are growing.  Learn about national gains in building women’s participation in the trades and examples of local progress through pre-apprenticeship training.

Bridging the Gender Gap: Creating a National Pre-apprenticeship Program to Prepare Women for the Iron Working Industry – Read about the International Ironworkers’ innovative women-only pre-apprenticeship program that specifically trains and provides direct entry to apprenticeship for program graduates.

 Forging Gender Equity in the Sheet Metal Workers Local 28: The Importance of Leadership, goals and Regular Review– Read about how the Sheet Metal Workers Local #28’s progress toward a women’s participation rate of 20% in apprenticeship.

Women’s Committees: A Key to Recruiting and Retaining Women Apprentices – Read about how women’s committees are supporting recruitment and retention of women in apprenticeship.

Massachusetts Supply and Demand Strategy: A Successful Model for Increasing Gender Diversity in the Trades– Read about how the Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues and its partners have transformed opportunity for women in construction through a comprehensive supply and demand strategy.

Building Equity: Addressing the Impacts of Violence on Pre-apprenticeship and Apprenticeship Programs – Twenty-seven percent of women and 11%  of men been victims of domestic violence, learn more about how intimate partner violence impacts participants outside the home and learn strategies for supporting victims and keeping your workspaces safe for everyone.

Wire a Light: A Workshop Designed to Increase Apprentice Diversity – Read about how this simple strategy increased participation of women and men of color in IBEW/NECA local 48’s apprenticeship program.

#Me Too in Traditionally Male-Dominated Occupations: Preventing and Addressing Sexual Harassment – Providing work sites that are free from harassment, intimidation and retaliation is critical to retaining women in the nontraditional workforce.  Learn more about how harassment impacts women in male-dominated occupations and strategies for preventing and addressing harassment in the workplace.

Powerful Words, Powerful Women: Book Clubs and the Trades – Learn about an innovative strategy for supporting pre-apprenticeship participants in learning problem solving skills, building confidence, and strengthening support networks.

Being a Male Ally: Recommendations for Supporting Women’s Success in the Building Trades – Don’t sit on the sidelines, learn how to recognize attitudes that disadvantage women in the construction careers and ways that you can be an effective ally in supporting women and changing the culture of the industry.

Strategies for Meeting the Demand for Advanced Manufacturing and Ship Building Workers: Women Only Pre-Apprenticeship Programs in Mississippi and West Virginia – Learn about effective models for preparing women for and supporting them in career path manufacturing and ship building careers.

Women Only Pre-Apprenticeship Programs: Meeting Skills Needs and Creating Pathways to Good Jobs for Women – Women only pre-apprenticeship programs have proven effective in increasing women’s participation in construction careers.  Learn from leading practitioners about best practices for preparing women for success in the industry.