Rose Anguiano Hurst
Executive Director, WEST
Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc.’s programs and initiatives are helping to get more women into rewarding skilled trades careers.
Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc. (WEST) recently celebrated the milestone of having supported 260 women in entering the skilled trades. “This year, we’ll train an additional 60 participants, bringing the number up to 320 women who we’ve trained through our skilled trades programs,” says Rose Anguiano Hurst, WEST’s Executive Director.
WEST has done this important work since 1987 — providing women in Windsor-Essex, especially women from racialized groups and other disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, with support and programs to aid them in enhancing skills and securing employment. Its latest focus on the skilled trades is a reflection of the organization’s strength in responding to community demand and meeting the labour market needs of local employers.
Exploring the skilled trades
“Recognizing shortages in the skilled trades and considering Windsor-Essex is a key manufacturing hub, we’ve been focusing on the advancement of women in the skilled trades,” says Anguiano Hurst. “I keep hearing how many of these jobs are going unfilled in our community. Our programs give women the opportunity to learn these skills.”
WEST offers three key programs — CNC/Industrial Mechanic Millwright Pre-Apprenticeship, Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship, and Introduction to Construction and Craft Trades — for women, in partnership with industry and educational organizations including St. Clair College, Unifor Local 444, and LiUNA!625. Its Trades Exploration Workshop helps prospective participants make an informed decision before getting accepted into the programs by allowing them to meet other women in the industry, participate in various hands-on activities to explore their interests, hear from industry experts, and learn about different career pathways in the skilled trades sectors.
Recognizing shortages in the skilled trades and considering Windsor-Essex is a key manufacturing hub, we’ve been focusing on the advancement of women in the skilled trades.
Careers in the skilled trades offer good wages and career satisfaction and are readily available due to labour shortages. “We often hear that our programs are life-changing,” says Anguiano Hurst.
Enhancing women’s prospects
Besides providing women with learning opportunities, WEST also offers much-needed employer education and establishes partnerships with the business community to enhance the prospects for women entering the field.
WEST’s EDI Training Sessions for Employers educate business owners, leaders, supervisors, and journeypersons on key equity, diversity, and inclusion teachings so they can support safe and inclusive workplaces for women. “This leadership training helps inform employers of the diverse expectations and needs of the clients that we’re working with and who we hope they’ll hire,” explains Anguiano Hurst. “The training aligns with the barriers, challenges, and support women need, and is a fundamental support for employers to help address key challenges with recruitment and retention for women in the skilled trades.”
While WEST is proud to lead this effort, it’s clear to see that as with many good things, it takes a village — businesses, communities, labour organizations, and educational institutions working together to create positive change.
Visit westofwindsor.com or explore the hashtags #WhyNotHer and #WhyNotUs on social media to learn more.