Women In Construction (WinC) emerged from the need to rebuild the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.
WinC is a pre-apprenticeship job training program of Moore Community House in Biloxi, MS and has been serving the women and communities of the Mississippi Gulf Coast for more than a decade. Since 2008, the program has trained over 500 women, with 75% of graduates moving on to job placement or advanced training programs.
WinC now provides nearly 180 women per year with the skills and industry-recognized credentials needed to prepare for a career in the trades through an eight-week, full time, intensive course. Program participants receive both classroom and on-the-job training by working onsite at a building project in the community. By the time participants complete the program, they have built a complete structure from the ground up.
Through funds provided by the U.S. Dept. of Labor and the Mississippi Department of Human Services, WinC is one of the only programs in the U.S. that offers both pre-apprenticeship and childcare services, and theirs has become the national model for workforce training and childcare services operating in tandem. WinC also provides trainees with transportation stipends, classes on topics from time management as a working parent to workers’ rights, and comprehensive case management to break down as many barriers to women getting to work as possible.
Graduates of WinC’s program often enter apprenticeship programs or work for companies such as Ingalls Shipbuilding, Chevron, and Mississippi Power.
With less than three percent of women working in the trades, WinC is introducing women to new career options. “The workforce is missing out on amazing, hardworking women,” said program director Julie Kuklinski. “These are women with tons of talent who can really get into the workforce [and] change the industry, and we’re excited to help do that.”
Kuklinski also advises industry leaders, community colleges, and trainers to reach out to WinC for help recruiting women for trade occupations and apprenticeships. She says WinC can serve as a valuable resource for getting women with the training necessary to fill trade and advanced manufacturing positions into an organization’s employment pipeline.
Kuklinski says that while helping women find meaningful, family-sustaining careers is an important part of the organization’s mission, WinC also provides a greater benefit to the women who complete the program. “A lot of women come in with a lack of confidence in themselves or know that they aren’t getting paid what they’re worth, and by the end, they really gain the confidence to join the workforce and get out there.”
Updated December 11, 2018
For additional information about the Mississippi Apprenticeship Program and Registered Apprenticeship, please visit https://msapprenticeship.works/about/apprenticeships-101/.