Women in Apprenticeship Training Institute Conference


Women in Apprenticeship

Training Institute Conference



Henry Funcke | Summary Report | August 5th, 2019 Conference Date

  1. (9:25 – 10:30)

Welcome and Opening Remarks: Updates on Apprenticeship 2019 3 Viewpoints

  • Meg Vasey, Executive Director, Tradeswomen Inc.
  • Eric Rood, Chief, California division of Apprenticeship Standards
  • Cesar Diaz, Legislative and Political Director, California State Building and Construction Trades Council
  • Patricia Garcia-Regional director, US Department of Labor/ETA/Office of Apprenticeship

Overview of Agenda Item “Updates on Apprenticeship 2019”:

General presentation and updates on apprenticeship by each speaker pertaining to apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs followed by short question and answer session by all three speakers at end of presentations.

Key presentation and/or questions during this session:

  • Disparity of workers in the trades (1%-2% are women, 11%-12% people of color)
  • Facilitate women’s entry into apprenticeship by direct entry?
  • In California there are 2000+ women in apprenticeship programs
  • Women in leadership roles
  • Sexual harassment training by and for contractors
  • Amendments to Assembly bill no. 235
  • Non-Trade apprenticeships
  • Division of apprentice council into Trades/Non-Trades?
  • North American Building Trades curriculum (MC3) for pre-apprenticeship programs
  • Life skills (how to get and keep a job)
  • Developing plans to facilitate bringing women into apprenticeship programs and retention of their apprenticeship
  • Changing the jobsite environment regarding sexual or other types of harassment (change the culture at the worksite level)
  • Partnership (like with union trades) applied to non-trade apprenticeships (Info Tech, etc.)
  • Question asked regarding how anti-harassment training on a “bottom up level” for apprentices would change the present jobsite culture and what could be done to address non-compliance by companies about harassment training?
  • Information resource @ regarding:
    • Anti-harassment video and resources
    • Disability self-identification
    • EEO pledge
    • Outreach and recruitment information
    • Identify non-discriminatory selection information


Personal Observation:

Although this time slot on the agenda was for a general presentation by the three main speakers (Eric Rood, Cesar Diaz, and Patricia Garcia), there were questions asked and information presented that addressed bringing a larger percentage of women into the trade (recruitment and retention), jobsite environment (changing the “culture”), and compliance by employers (harassment training/awareness).

These are some of the main key points (brought up by main speakers and audience) I feel should be addressed moving forward:

  • How to facilitate bringing women into the apprenticeship programs.
  • Retention of women in the apprenticeship programs.
  • Jobsite environment change to retain more women in the trades.
  • Policies regarding jobsite environment (sexual harassment, harassment) to facilitate changing the culture on the job.
  • Possible actions at the State level to address compliance/non-compliance by companies.


  1. (10:45 – 12:15)

Workshop Attended: Pre-Apprenticeship Programs: Women and MC3

Recruitment & Other Challenges 

Panel Discussion and Question/Answer Session with the Following Panel Members:

  • Frank Cuneo, Director, North Bay Trades Introduction Program
  • Juanita Douglas, Construction Instructor and Business Liaison, Rising Sun Center for Opportunity
  • Marlin Jeffreys, Program Manager, Adult Programs, Rising Sun Center for Opportunity
  • Emilio Sanchez, Coordinator of Career Technical Education and Apprenticeships, Oakland USD
  • Helvia Taina, Program Manager, Trades Orientation Program, Working Partnerships USA
  • Moderator: Sabrina Hernandez, Business Representative San Francisco IBEW Local 6


Overview of Pre-Apprenticeship Programs: Women and MC3 Recruitment & Other Challenges Workshop Session:

Specific questions asked by moderator to panel members regarding recruitment of and challenges faced by women in the trades. Comments, observations, and questions by audience after each specific question asked, and addressed, by panel member.

Key questions asked and addressed to panel members during this workshop session:

  • Question of physical challenges of job: addressed in part by Marlin Jeffreys of Rising Sun stating that physical training is implemented in each day of their preapprenticeship training to instill confidence and raise self-esteem for women about physical aspects of a job.
  • Question of child care challenges/issues faced by any single parent that would affect or prevent MC3 training, apprenticeship training, and overall work attendance/performance: no conclusive solutions or answers provided by panel members. Possible grant money/financial assistance to help with child care costs suggested.
  • Question of gender challenges/issues faced by women in the trades:

education of all apprentices, workers, and contractors of what these gender issues are that women deal with in the workplace.

  • Question of resources to help recruitment and retention of women in the trades: multiple suggestions by panel and audience:
    • Information specifically for women regarding the trades such as notifications, flyers, meetings, etc.
    • Implementing more “hands on” training of tools and processes (pre-apprentice programs, high schools) to build confidence utilizing hand/work skills to instill a “can do” attitude.
    • Bring in journey level women to speak to classes to share accomplishments, experiences, and even issues in their trades with the students.
    • Provide more awareness and information regarding the facets of each type of work involved in a trade or industry.
    • Specific support contact person(s) for women regarding job related issues of work processes, problems, etc.
    • Mentorship for women by contact person(s) and/or a network of assistance to address any issues and to build confidence.

Personal Observation of Workshop:

I felt that some of the questions asked by the moderator were on point as far as what the workshop was intended to address. Questions answered by the panel were expanded on by the audience and observations/suggestions were good. From what I have personally observed on both the jobsite and in apprentice classes I believe that changes for the better will happen, but should be addressed now to facilitate expedience of the “culture” change required to provide a better workplace environment for women in the trades. I have personally observed that current apprentices work well together in class regardless of gender and that there is an acceptance working side by side with women that I have not always seen on jobsites. I think that the jobsite culture change will eventually happen in the future based on the current generation of apprentices (and future journeypersons) not having an attitude of only men being suited for working in the building trades. The integration of more women in the apprenticeship programs (and into the workplace) will be key in developing the acceptance and “culture change” discussed extensively.

These are some of the key questions, answers, and discussions (brought up by panel speakers and audience) that would be beneficial to address recruitment of, retention of, and challenges faced, by women in the trades:


  • Information/resources specifically for women regarding the trades (overview of our trade in general, opportunities available, applications, contact person for information/answers regarding any specific trade).
  • Flyers, information sheets, etc. specifically for women in the trades to hand out at career fairs, or any school trades introduction event.
  • Videos showing women in the sheet metal trade and the work they are performing (sheet metal shop/field, TAB, service) for social media and/or at career fairs/schools on screen.
  • Possible career fairs/events designed specifically for women.
  • Media advertisement (radio, newspaper)?

Retention of Women in the Apprenticeship program

  • Support contact person to consult regarding any issues, doubts, or questions regarding present training and work
  • Mentorship by Journey level women for apprentices
  • Addressing the changing of the culture of the jobsite to acceptance of, fair treatment of, and respect for any worker on the site regardless of gender.

Challenges Faced 

  • Possible childcare issues (cost and time factors) that would affect attendance of training and work for any single parent.
  • Building confidence and self-esteem early on while working in an environment with predominantly male workers.
  • Developing the physical skills sometimes needed to perform certain aspects of the job and/or utilize the tools and equipment required.
  • Negative attitudes of coworkers or lead persons regarding women working in the trades.
  • Receiving proper on the job training versus being regulated to less skilled task assignments.


  1. (12:15 – 12:30)

Videos by NC AlliedTrades/IUPAT DC 16 and California Firefighters JAC focusing on women performing different tasks related to their jobs


(12:30 – 1:00) Lunch


  1. (1:00 – 2:00)

Main Hall: Women Apprentices Speak

  • Shane’ LaSaint Bell, Journey level Ironworker, Local 8 elevator Constructor apprentice
  • Connie Ocasio, Journey Level Tile Finisher, BAC Local 3 Pointer Cleaner Caulker apprentice
  • Macy Imperial, Local 713 Carpenter Apprentice
  • Timberlie Laramie, Local 378 Ironworker apprentice
  • Sara A. Glascock, IBEW Local 617 Inside Wire apprentice
  • Moderator: Ester Sandoval, Program Coordinator, Tradeswomen Inc.

       Overview of Women Apprentices Speak Session:

       Key questions asked by moderator to any or each apprentice regarding:

  • The pathway to their apprenticeship (their background and how they became aware of apprenticeship programs) as well as any thoughts on their journey.
  • How they presently felt about their jobs and careers.
  • Some of the challenges they had (and still have) working in the trades
  • Some of the issues they have experienced with other workers while on the jobsite.

    Personal Observation of Responses and Statements by Apprentices:

It was impressive to see and hear the confidence level of each of these women when they spoke about their pathway to their apprenticeship program and the “Can do” attitude by each, and every one of them.

There was also discussion on some of the issues they have had to face as far as:

  • Having to prove to a lead person or coworker that they could “do the work”.
  • Being assigned repetitive, less skilled required tasks, for extended periods of time.
  • Lack of willingness to “train” an apprentice by coworkers.
  • Overt or subtle harassment on the job (i.e. hiding or moving tools or materials to hinder completion of a task)
  • Slanderous/untrue comments about the person made by workers on site

An interesting comment made by one of the apprentices was even though they were asked to remain positive in their answers and comments while speaking, she still felt that some of her negative experiences (which she shared) were also important to bring to light.

This awareness of some real issues/challenges that someone personally has experienced on a job I believe had more impact as a statement rather than as a discussion topic.

The level of confidence, the “can do” attitude, and the pride they had for their trade and accomplishments was obvious to all in the audience.

  1. (2:00 – 3:15)

Workshop Attended: Facilitated Pathways into Apprenticeship for WomenBeyond MC3 

Panel Discussion and Question/Answer Session with the Following Panel Members:

  • Al Garcia, Training Director, Plumbers & Steamfitters, UA Local 342 JATC
  • Hector F. Lopez, Coordinator, Carpenters Training Center Northern California
  • Sara A. Glascock, Inside Wire Apprentice, IBEW Local 617
  • Kristoffer Ramos, Human Resources, ServiceWest
  • Moderator: Zelda Saeli, Infrastructure/Labor Relations, San Francisco Water Power Sewer


Overview of Facilitated Pathways into Apprenticeship for Women-Beyond MC3:

Specific questions asked by moderator to panel members regarding pathways to an apprenticeship program beyond the MC3 curriculum programs. Comments, observations, and questions by audience after each specific question asked, and addressed, by panel member.

Key questions and discussions by panel members and audience during this workshop session:

  • Setting a goal and committing to bringing in a specific number of women into the apprenticeship program.
  • Outreach programs designed specifically for women to provide information regarding apprenticeship programs for a career.
  • Possible direct entry for women.
  • Partnership between labor and management to bring women to the forefront in positions of leadership and higher visibility (i.e. more women instructors).
  • Utilizing social media to reach out to women regarding information, career opportunities, and specific pathways to an apprenticeship program.
  • Outreach to women in prisons and shelters.

Even though the topic had been discussed in previous workshop regarding retention of women in apprenticeship programs and challenges faced, there was further discussion of this as far as:

  • Mentorship and support contact for tradeswomen (by a tradeswomen) to address any job-related issues, confidence building, and skills development.
  • Training/education of lead persons to understand and recognize issues/challenges that a woman faces working on a jobsite and how to address it.
  • More/better training of using specific tools and equipment in apprenticeship/preapprenticeship programs to build confidence and skill in utilizing these tools and equipment on the job.

(3:15 – 3:45)

  1. Next Steps Discussions, Evaluations, and Closing Remarks


End Conference