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Equus Part of WRTP | BIG STEP Consortium for National Female-Centered Apprenticeship Expansion

Equus Workforce Solutions and Wisconsin workforce intermediary WRTP | BIG STEP have partnered with other workforce and talent development partners nationwide to form the disruptHER Consortium, which has been selected for funding through a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau. The Women in Apprenticeship and Non-Traditional Occupations (WANTO) grant supports efforts to diversify occupations so that more women benefit from the higher wages and benefit packages often associated with careers in industries like manufacturing, transportation logistics or construction. Project partners include grant lead WRTP | BIG STEP in Milwaukee, WI, Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee, West Oakland Jobs Resource Center, California – Workforce & Economic Development Program, Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building & Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO and the Machinist Training Institute 751. Joining in innovation sessions will be the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s The Commons staff.

Collectively, the Consortium aims to create a more robust and innovative network of non-profits, employers, unions, public workforce development stakeholders/influencers and training providers to address the need to have more women engaged and succeeding in apprenticeable and non-traditional occupations. The network will work intentionally around local workforce needs in sectors such as construction, manufacturing, information technology, energy, commercial food production and transportation, with an emphasis on urban centers where women represent higher rates of female-headed households and lower hourly wages than the national average for women.

As a network of intermediaries, workforce development practitioners and training providers, WRTP | BIG STEP and its consortium are committed to delivering on the program goals of the disruptHER Consortium to:

  • Raise women’s success in apprenticeships through mentorship, coaching and guidance that can support a woman on to Journeyperson status;
  • Provide technical assistance to employers and labor unions on recruitment strategies, training opportunities, and employment and retention services that will grow the number of women in apprenticeable and nontraditional occupations;
  • Enhance training programs designed to prepare women for apprenticeship;
  • Convene for professionally facilitated focus groups within the public and private workforce system to discuss and identify issues, real or perceived, that challenge women from entering certain career pathways and occupations;
  • Work with WRTP | BIG STEP’s Human-Centered Design & Innovation team to create deconstruction/reconstruction workshops aimed at digging deeper into the myths and realities surrounding occupations within the highlighted sectors, informing where technical assistance needs lay and creating localized solutions to address and remediate these challenges;
  • Create a best practices and innovation library comprised of workshop sessions and developed tool kits that can be shared amongst the disruptHER network;
  • Set up and/or continue support to groups and facilitating networks for women in apprenticeships to improve their retention.

Equus Workforce Solutions is excited to have yet another opportunity to serve women across the country in this capacity. To learn more about our role as a national intermediary for registered apprenticeships, contact the Discover Apprenticeship team.