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Evelyn Pacheco had a powerful purpose when she founded Nevada Women In Trades (NVWIT)
"I started Nevada Women In Trades to change women's lives," she said. "A lot of women are interested in joining trade unions, but the opportunity is rarely presented to them. Women are seriously underrepresented in trade-oriented apprenticeship programs and in high-growth, high-wage occupations. While women make up nearly half of the United States labor force, they comprise less than 10% of registered apprenticeship program participants."
"We are here to show women that they have options. Our program can help them get into apprenticeships that could potentially lead them into careers that pay $100,000 or more per year without a college degree."
With its Pipeline Comprehensive Course (PCC), NVWIT prepares women to pass rigorous apprenticeship exams by enhancing their math and science skills. NVWIT also helps women improve their interview skills, provides them networking opportunities, and equips them with the proper mental and physical tools through hands-on training.
"We help them fill out the applications to apply for apprenticeship programs," Pacheco said. "They learn the importance of focus and being on time. We also introduce them to apprenticeship directors, other important people in the unions, and local contractors. The apprenticeship directors often reinforce a lot of the things that we teach them. During the visits, they get a chance to see the type of work they will do and the equipment they will use. It's an exciting time for them."
"As they prepare for the tests to potentially join a union, we start to see the lights come on. Once they receive their pre-apprenticeship certifications, it becomes even more believable for them."
The discrimination that Pacheco faced during her years as a pipefitter allows her to share perspectives with women as they enter male-dominated trade unions.
"Sexism is common in the trade unions," she said. "We prepare the women who join our program for what they will encounter out in the field. They learn how to present themselves as they apply for apprenticeships and in the workplace. We want them to recognize that their reputations will follow them throughout their careers in the trades."
Much of NVWIT's work involves spreading the word about the vast opportunities that are available for women who want to join trade unions.
"I share my NVWIT business cards with women everywhere I go," Pacheco said. "When I see women who have low paying jobs, I encourage them to improve their lives by getting into our program. As they join the ranks of those with successful trade careers, they put themselves on pathways to the middle class. Generations of people will potentially be affected because they made the choice to join a trade union."
For more information about Nevada Women In Trades, please visit their website www.NevadaWIT.org or contact them at (702) 801-6591.
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