WEST Recognizes 200 Women In Skilled Trades Program
On Thursday, March 24, 2022 Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor, Inc. honoured guests, supporters, partners, funders at a Recognition Event at the Ciociaro Club of Windsor.
Over 78 guests came together in person to celebrate the community efforts and determination which have led to 200 determined women completing CNC/Industrial Mechanic Millwright Pre-Apprenticeship Program and the Construction and Craft Trades programs.
The Honourable Jane McKenna, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, and Barbara Simmons, Assistant Deputy Minister, Office of Women’s Issues, Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services delivered congratulatory messages to the graduates and community partners at the gathering.
Recognition certificates were received by the most recent program participants in the CNC/ Industrial Mechanic Millwright Pre-Apprenticeship Program and the audience was addressed by Jennifer Devine a graduate of the WEST, Women in Skilled Trades Program and Electrical Apprentice at Ford Motor Company, and the Keynote speaker. Devine is a mother of four children who achieved her dream of working in the trades as a young girl spoke about the challenges, she overcome which led to her having the skills and confidence to transform steel into molds that create auto parts, including car grills, for the automotive industry.
The Women in Skilled Trades Program (WIST) is funded by the Government of Ontario, with additional funding support from the Canadian Women’s Foundation.
“The WIST program is specifically designed to facilitate the entry of women without prior experience or knowledge into the millwright/machining trade and meet current labour market shortages,” explains Sergio Hernandez, Job Developer/ Industry Placement Specialist for the Women in Skilled Trades program at WEST.
None of these accomplishments could have been done without the support and commitment of our Funders, Employers, and Community Partners, according to Mary Ann Montagano, Job Developer/Industry Placement Specialist at WEST.
“They have played an important role in the success of the Women in trades by training, hiring, coaching and providing feedback,” she comments.
St. Clair College, Unifor, and the LiUNA! 625, key partners with WEST in the Women in Skilled Trades program delivery were also on hand to share their support and recognition of the community program milestone.
“St Clair College is proud to Partner with the WEST organization and UNIFOR to provide these students with an education that prepares them to develop lifelong careers in the trades that is life-changing,” comments Lido Zuccato, Dean of the School of Engineering Technologies, Apprenticeship, and Skilled Trades.
Paul Renaud, Unifor Skilled Trades Chairperson for the Windsor Assembly Plant and Financial Secretary-Treasurer of the Unifor National Skilled Trades Council feels: “The future is so excellent for these women. Once you have your ticket, you really can go anywhere and work. It isn’t about being a man or a woman, you have the papers to prove you can do the job.”
Carmen Calcaro, Training Director of LiUNA! 625 also shares his enthusiasm for including more women in the Construction Trades: “This is a great step forward, and as long overdue culture change. We can do this!”
The evening was a pivotal moment for all involved in ensuring the program delivered positive outcomes to participants, partners, and funders alike, according to WEST Program Manager, Gurpreet Chana. “We are so happy to shine a light on the achievements women are making in our community,” says Chana. “Seeing the overwhelmingly positive support in recognizing the women, and our allies in ensuring there are opportunities for women in the skilled trades and technologies inspires us to forge ahead for a brighter future for all.”
The Women in The Skilled Trades Program (WIST) at Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor, Inc. provides employment training and supports to low-income individuals who are unemployed or underemployed to gain sensitive in-class and on-the-job training to prepare them for employment in the manufacturing sector, providing confidence and guidance enabling them to become strong, independent women able to provide for themselves and their families.
The program incorporates components not included in basic level training, such as job search and communications skills, computer literacy training, and various computer applications.
The benefits of the placement are two-fold: trainees benefit from real-world exposure; industry benefits by reducing the training time for new employees and are paid a wage subsidy to offset training costs.
The WIST program will be accepting new women participants in August of 2022. Information and registration forms can be found on Women in Skilled Trades – Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc.