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Women in Trades Get Another Boost From Canada’s New Government

by NationTalk on April 14, 2007697 Views

For Release
April 13, 2007

EDMONTON, AB – Low-income and Aboriginal women training for careers in the trades will benefit from an additional $331,292 investment in the Women Building Futures (WBF) Training Centre, bringing total funding from Canada’s New Government to $1,181,292.

The new Training Centre will enable the Women Building Futures Society to increase the number of students graduating from its 16-week, pre-apprentice training program from 60 to as many as 400 annually. Ninety per cent of Women Building Futures graduates find employment in Alberta’s construction and oil and gas trades.

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification made the announcement today.“Canada’s New Government recognizes the need for skilled tradespeople to meet the demand in Alberta’s booming economy,” said Minister Ambrose. “Today’s investment of over $330,000 is good for business, our economy as well as women, particularly Aboriginal women, who will be provided support to enter the workforce and have a chance to reach their full potential.”

Funding is directed towards converting the main floor and basement of an existing warehouse into a teaching, administrative and small retail area. This space will become WBF’s Training Centre. WBF is also retrofitting the top floor of the warehouse and adding two additional floors to create 42 affordable housing units for low-income women who want to enroll in its program.

“This additional support from Western Economic Diversification Canada will help us leverage further funding, so that we can continue constructing our Training Centre and meet the growing needs of our students and program,” said Tamara Hauglum, Chair of the Women Building Futures Board of Directors. “This project is critical to ensuring that women who graduate from our program have the skills and training to pursue meaningful careers and build better lives.”

Women Building Futures is a non-profit, charitable organization that works to help women build better lives and achieve economic independence through training, mentorship and employment support. To date, more than 200 low-income women have graduated from WBF’s 16-week, pre-apprentice training program. The organization is recognized by industry as a supplier of quality, apprenticeship-ready tradespeople. WBF’s new, 45,000 square-foot training and housing facility is scheduled to open in 2008.

For additional information, contact:

Donna Kinley
Communications Manager
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Edmonton, Alberta
Tel: (780) 495-6892

JudyLynn Archer
Chief Executive Officer
Women Building Futures
Telephone: (780) 452-1200

Backgrounder

- Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD)
Western Economic Diversification Canada works in partnership with the provinces, industry associations and communities to stimulate and diversify Western Canada’s economy, as well as to represent the interests of the West in national economic policy.
- WD is announcing an investment of $331,292 in the Women Building Futures (WBF) Training Facility. This funding builds on WD’s previous investment of $850,000 announced in March 2006, bringing total funding to $1,181,292.
- WD’s investment, made through its Western Diversification Program (WDP), supports the Government of Canada’s commitments to invest in research, development and technology commercialization; support small and medium-sized enterprises; and promote a diversified and expanded business sector.
- The underlying objective of the WDP is to create a stronger West and a stronger Canada. Several guiding principles are used to help assess how initiatives contribute to this objective, including:
~increased economic activity that improves the viability, prosperity, and standard of living for individuals and communities across Western Canada.
~increased economic research in the areas of community economic development, leading-edge technologies and entrepreneurship to provide a sound base for economic development in areas of importance to Western Canada.
- Other elements that are considered when determining the relative merit of proposals include: the measurable impact on the western Canadian economy, viability, long-term benefits, and the participation of other stakeholders.

Women Building Futures Society (WBF)
- WBF was founded in 1998 in response to the growing number of women and children living in poverty in Edmonton.
- After assessing labour market opportunities, and the skills and financial needs of low-income women, a trades training program for women was launched.
- To date, more than 200 low-income women have graduated from the WBF’s 16- week, pre-apprentice training program. As well, WBF has been responsible for a 90 per cent student success rate and is recognized as a key supplier of quality tradespeople.
- Partnerships with key industry stakeholders such as Merit Contractors Association, the Construction Owners Association of Alberta, Christian Labour Association of Canada and individual employers help ensure that WBF’s program meets the needs of industry.
- WBF’s training program Journeywomen Start is an approved, tuition based program. The majority of women taking the training are on unemployment assistance or social assistance.
- In January 2005, WBF launched FixIt Chicks, which offers home renovation, repair and maintenance workshops for women. All proceeds from this enterprise flow back to WBF to help offset training costs for low-income women.
- Through this project, the lower two floors of the warehouse will be renovated into a new WBF training and retail facility and the top floor will be retrofitted into student housing units. Two more floors of student housing will be added on top of this, for a total of 42 affordable housing units for low-income women who want to enroll in WBF programs.

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