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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

Supporting Women in the Trades

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Women are making strides in the work force as MSU project manager Carol Cool helps lead Women in Skilled Trades (WIST) alongside Tori Menold of Granger Construction. WIST was created with the intention of promoting better lives for women through skilled trades.

“It’s our goal to make women aware of the opportunities in the skilled trades and to prepare them to enter an apprenticeship program,” Cool said. “Our organization is for women to give them the confidence they need and the resources they need to get accepted into the apprenticeship program.”

Each woman is assigned a mentor through the organization that supports them through their apprenticeship. Support groups also meet once a month.

“We’re really looking to support the 44 percent of unemployed single moms in the Lansing area. Supporting them will help support the community and help them support their families,” Cool said. “Most people don’t understand as an apprentice, even as you are learning, you make a living wage.”

WIST held explorations called “Women Build” on Sept. 25 and Dec. 9. The explorations provided hands-on activities and work sessions where women could learn about the exciting opportunities within skilled trades.

“Our first one was an all-day event at Lansing Community College,” Cool said. “We were able to expose women to six different trades so they could get a feel for what these people do, what their work life is like.”

Through volunteer work and donations, WIST is gaining momentum.

“It’s been a year in the making. We’re hoping to start our first class in February of next year,” Cool said.