Apprentice program focuses on recruitment of women |

Apprentice program focuses on recruitment of women

NNBW Staff

Construction jobs go begging as the industry booms in northern Nevada, yet half the potential workforce women is barely interested in careers in the building trades.

A union-sponsored campaign to recruit apprentices seeks, however, to overcome cultural issues that keep women from seeking jobs in the skilled trades.

The campaign will be in the spotlight Oct.

15 as the Western Apprenticeship Coordinators Association a group funded by more than a dozen building trades unions conducts a women-only career fair.

The event runs from 7:30 a.m.

to 12:30 p.m.

at the TMCC/IGT Applied Technology Center, 475 Edison Way in Reno.An optional session in interviewing skills will run from 2-4 p.m.

Participants will be getting hands-on experience, said Bob Alessandrelli, trades apprenticeship coordinator, and that means they’ll be asked to dress for construction work pants, no heels, little jewelry.

Alessandrelli said all of the apprenticeship programs operated by unions in northern Nevada include women, but he acknowledged that their numbers are small.

Much of the challenge, he said, is cultural.

Women simply don’t view construction as a career alternative.

“We as a society need to say it’s OK for a woman to be a heavy equipment operator or an electrician,”Alessandrelli said.

Along with formal events such as the career fair, the Western Apprenticeship Coordinators Association is working in subtle ways to encourage women to apply for apprenticeship spots.

When he’s talking with groups of young men, for instance, Alessandrelli commonly encourages them to encourage their wives and girlfriends to look at careers in construction.

“We need to keep mentioning it, keep bringing it up,” he said.

The apprenticeship recruitment program, launched within the last year,was spurred by rapid growth in demand for skilled craftspeople in northern Nevada as the region continues to grow.At the same time, construction executives throughout the nation worry that retirements are reducing their skilled workforce faster than apprentice programs can fill it.

Apprentice programs in northern Nevada provide a combination of on-the-job training, paying at least $9 an hour,with classroom sessions that earn credit at Truckee Meadows Community College.

All apprentice programs are free, and most run three to five years.

Pre-registration for the Oct.

15 career fair is strongly advised there’s no guarantee of space for those who don’t register and the deadline for registration is Oct.


Registration information is available at JOIN Inc.

office, the Reno and Sparks offices of JobConnect, online at or by calling 8925-6866.