Your donation makes a difference
Your donation to Chicago Women in Trades contributes to broader career choice and pay equity for women and helps to change the lives of the individual women we serve. Apprenticeship programs, which require little or no upfront financial investment, offer our primarily low-income participants a unique and achievable pathway with the middle-class. Here are just a few of their stories.
The path to the Electrician Apprenticeship program did not develop overnight for Patricia Epps. "I have always been mechanically inclined, having grown up building things with a hammer, a saw, nails and scraps of wood. I once made a set of nunchucks, ala Bruce Lee, from an old broom stick, a necklace and a few nails. Every year at Christmas time, I would look through the Sears and Radio Shack catalogs, and put the radio building kit on my list for Santa Claus, of course, Santa never brought it. Years later, as a single parent, I helped my son build a car for the Boy Scouts' Pine Derby. In my late 20's, I applied to the Electrician's Apprenticeship program but wasn't accepted into the program. I am not sure that I would have believed it if someone had told me at the beginning of the year, that I would apply to an apprenticeship, graduate from the CWIT program and get accepted into the Electrical Construction Program." Here she is on her first job as an apprentice electrician, finally realizing her decades-long dream of working in the trades.
There was a moment I realized that I could have everything I wanted in life. It took timing, the right heart, the right actions, the right passion and a willingness to risk it all. I told myself that if I failed, it would be because I really didn’t want it, need it or God prevented it.
My life has changed not only because I bring home a good paycheck and have excellent health care, but because it is easier for me to look in the mirror and know I'm doing whatever I can to take care of my family.
A woman first needs to believe in herself and know that she can do it. The training I received from CWIT opened my eyes to that. I will be forever grateful.
Congratulations to Roshanda Brown who completed her apprenticeship program on August 31, 2014. As a journey-level laborer, Roshanda, the sole provider for her family, can now afford to give them the security and opportunity she wants for them. Roshanda says " I would definitely recommend anyone who wants to become a successful tradeswoman to look into CWIT. I love being a Laborer, and I love what I do. It’s not an easy job, but a woman's gotta do, what a woman's gotta do. Thanks TOP for all of your help!”
Linda Wright is the definition of never give up. More than half way through her carpentry apprenticeship program, the bottom fell out of the job market and it looked like her career was over. Two years later, work began to pick up and CWIT referred her to Mortenson Construction, who made her an offer pending her reinstatement in the apprenticeship program. Two more years later, she is still working with Mortenson and celebrating graduation from her apprenticeship program. But she doesn't do this job for the money, she loves being a carpenter.
Growing up as the daughter of a tradeswoman and program graduate, Zahrah Hill understood the benefits of these careers first-hand, and when her time came, she too joined CWIT's Technical Opportunities Program and, as of April 2014, has begun her career as an apprentice plumber. Zahrah doesn't take this opportunity for granted and encourages herself to be the best every day by saying "I do not strive for excellence.. For excellence is the platform that I reach from."