Area Training Offices Provide Resources for Women Seeking Apprenticeships

Oct 27, 1999

Ohio Bureau of Employment Services

State LogoOhio Bureau of Employment Services

Area Training Offices Provide a Variety of Resources for Women Seeking Apprenticeship Opportunities in Ohio

October/November 1999
Contact: Becky Johnson Rescola, editor, at (614) 466-4496

The U.S. Department of Labor has established several area offices of the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training throughout Ohio. Each area office provides valuable information regarding apprenticeship opportunities in different regions of the state.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, many occupations offer apprenticeships, some that most people never consider. Those occupations include beekeepers, candy makers, photographers, firefighters, police officers, cartoonists, decorators, television directors, computer operators/programmers, opticians, and many others.

An occupation qualified for apprenticeship:

  • Is learned in a structured program of supervised, on-the-job training
  • Is clearly identified and commonly recognized throughout an industry
  • Involves manual, mechanical, or technical skills which require a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job work experience
  • Requires related instruction supplemental to on-the-job training.
Area training representatives offered the following information.

Dayton Office
Mary Ann Dayspring
(614) 469-7375

"There are many opportunities for women in the construction trades, and even greater opportunities for women in manufacturing," noted Dayspring. Many manufacturers in the machine and tool and die industries are welcoming women to the trades.

"Opportunities are available for women and men in the trades," added Dayspring. "Unfortunately, women tend to be discouraged from considering 'blue collar' occupations and other nontraditional careers. Parents and society tend to emphasize college or traditional employment opportunities."

The benefits of employment in such nontraditional occupations, Dayspring noted, are immeasurable. "Wages are extra good during apprenticeship training. And many apprentices move toward college degrees. Once the four-year apprenticeship is finished, even better wages await a journey-level worker," Dayspring said. Also, apprentices have an opportunity to build something and to feel good about the results of their work because they are making a difference, Dayspring added.

"We need more women in the skilled trades, and we need to think differently about nontraditional jobs. Apprenticeship programs offer an opportunity to pursue 'the other four-year degree,'" Dayspring concluded.

Cleveland Office
Dean Guido
(216) 522-3823

Manufacturing has long been an important trade in the Cleveland area. Women in the Cleveland area should consider careers in manufacturing and other skilled trades, and those careers begin with apprenticeship training.

In addition to the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, women in Cleveland may utilize Hard Hatted Women as a valuable resource in the area. Hard Hatted Women organizes job fairs and offers a pre-apprenticeship training program for women interested in learning more about apprenticeships and the skilled trades. For more information, contact Hard Hatted Women at (216) 961-4449.

Toledo Office
Phyllis Lipkinssilar
(419) 259-6390

According to Lipkinssilar, the building trades continue to grow in northwest Ohio. She said the area has seen an increase in women's participation in the skilled trades and she would like to see the trend continue.

"Wages in the building trades are good, especially when you have a family," Lipkinssilar noted. "And once you learn and develop skills in a particular trade, you will always be able to utilize them. Employers look highly on people with journey-level trade cards," she added.

At least once or twice a year, the area hosts informational seminars on the skilled trades. Apprentices and journey-level workers talk to those interested in the skilled trades, answer questions, and conduct breakout sessions for those interested in a specific field.

Lipkinssilar closed with a few words of advice to women considering training in a skilled trade: "Plan ahead and research the area that interests you. There are many different trades, and you must truly know the field and be committed before entering a training program. Also, don't accept discouragement. Find out as much information as possible and decide for yourself if a trade is right for you. Be strong once you have selected a trade and participate in the union."

Most of all, Lipkinssilar stressed, "Go for your high school diploma or GED. Today, many trades prefer it."

Youngstown Office
David A. Beck
(330) 743-0186

In Youngstown, skilled workers in construction, machining, and manufacturing trades continue to be needed, according to Beck. "Many women are not considering these jobs," he said, "but they offer great opportunities."

"Apprenticeship programs provide opportunities for women to learn skills and continue their education," Beck noted. In fact, Kent State University is creating a new center in the area that will offer an associate's degree in manufacturing.

"The best employees are those individuals who know how to operate machines and have an associate's degree in a field such as computer design," Beck added. "Such an employee is capable of designing a product and understanding how the product can be built. Education and practical experience work together to create an excellent career path in the trades." Employees in skilled professions must be willing to learn and to continually update skills, Beck explained.

He also stressed that apprenticeship programs offer many benefits. "First, you learn a specific skill that stays with you and continues to build for a long-term career. Second, you learn while you earn, because apprenticeships are paid and nearly all employers reimburse educational costs. Third, the opportunities to earn more money or to become a supervisor, even to run your own business, are endless! And, finally, apprenticeship programs and the trades offer many opportunities for advancement."

Columbus Office
Shirley M. Provance
(614) 469-7376

"Many programs in the Columbus area and throughout Central Ohio need women," Provance said. Provance believes women's hectic schedules sometimes become overwhelming when they begin an apprenticeship program. "Apprentices work on the job and go to class," Provance explained. "It can be a challenge to maintain a household, too."

However, women can successfully meet those challenges with support and a level of commitment. "Apprenticeships typically last four years," Provance noted. "If a woman commits herself to four years of training, she reaches journey-level 'gold' at the end of her training."

Women must be prepared for other challenges on the job, as well. "In construction trades, a woman is sometimes the only female on the site. Many employers are desperately seeking women apprentices and will work with interested women to make the apprenticeship a success."

Provance serves areas throughout central Ohio, as far as Portsmouth, Carey, and Marietta. "There are many opportunities for good, quality training if women have an interest," Provance concluded.

Cincinnati Office
Lois E. Lindsey
(614) 469-7377

"Women are needed in all nontraditional occupations in the Cincinnati area," Lindsey began. "A lot of construction and manufacturing programs are available, but women aren't aware of them." Therefore, Lindsey emphasized, job providers need to spread the word regarding apprenticeship opportunities.

"Nontraditional trades can be scary for women at first, because they are stepping out of bounds," Lindsey said. "But women can handle anything. Most women don't know their capacity for the trades until they try." While a lot of women are concerned with stereotypes, Lindsey explains that the only way to break down stereotypes is to face them and to prove otherwise.

Career fairs and other programs assist women in preparing for the trades and in understanding the opportunities available to them as well as the challenges ahead. "It's helpful for someone to speak to women interested in the trades and to share her accomplishments," Lindsey added. "Awareness is key."

Lindsey noted many benefits to apprenticeship training and nontraditional employment opportunities, including increased wages and the acquisition of a lifelong skill. "Women have the unique opportunity to learn a skill and to continue to earn money while learning," Lindsey concluded.