A new free job training program is hoping to attract more women to the North Texas construction industry and it’s targeting those that live in southern Dallas – where unemployment is three times higher than the rest of the county.
The six-week course called ‘Women In Construction’ provides job training, industry certifications and help with job placement.
Part of the United Way’s Southern Dallas Thrives initiative, the course is focused on helping Black and Latinx women in southern Dallas gain access to better-paying jobs and improve workforce equity.
"A lot of individuals that we are already working with have disparities from the southern sector and we’ve seen those exponentially grow and increase over the last year and a half," said Ashley Douglas, senior director of the United Way's Southern Dallas Thrives initiative.
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In addition to the training, the program provides transportation and housing resources while women are enrolled in the course to help lift any barriers that would prevent them from completing the training.
"You can’t necessarily focus on curriculum if you are worried about housing or if you don’t have access to food for your family," Douglas said. "So these are all necessary resources that we know our participants need to be successful in any training or curriculum we can provide."
Jasmine Wallace was among the program’s first graduates this summer.
She actually left a job in construction to grow her skills through the program.
“You don’t see too many women [in construction] so to have someone on our support team really pushing the issue and trying to get more women on the construction site that’s a good thing,” Wallace said.
Michelle Wheeler also completed the program.
“It’s great adding to the skills that I already have being in this program for construction,” Wheeler said. “It’s really opened up doors to a lot of opportunities. My goal for the future is just independence and being able to help the next person.”
Douglas said more than 60% of the graduates of the first program immediately landed work in the construction industry upon graduation.
No experience is required to enroll in the program.
To enroll in the Women In Construction program, visit the United Way.