BIRMINGHAM, July 27, 2022 – Jobs to Move America (JMA) and the Department of Labor (DOL) hosted an event with the DOL Women’s Bureau National Director Wendy Chun-Hoon who explored upcoming opportunities and benefits for women to make inroads into manufacturing. Women make up about 47% of the total workforce, but only make up less than a third of the 15.8 million people employed in manufacturing industries.
JMA and New Flyer, an electric bus manufacturer with a factory in Anniston, have partnered on a Community Benefits Agreement that will bring better jobs and benefits to the community by increasing hiring, training, and access to good jobs in American manufacturing for historically disadvantaged people.This includes women, people of color, veterans, and people who’ve been impacted by the justice system.
“The Women’s Bureau is a 100 year old agency, within the DOL, a really historic agency. All to say, that for the past 100 years we have been fighting for rights for women in the workplace,” shared keynote speaker Wendy Chun-Hoon.
The Women’s Bureau has a grant program called the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) which helps to expand pathways for women to enter and lead in all industries. The Women’s Bureau keeps focused on what is happening in the broader economy for women, like this opportunity to partner with JMA, The Alabama Coalition, and New Flyer to announce upcoming pre-apprenticeship programs for manufacturing targeting those in historically disadvantaged groups.
JMA and New Flyer are working together to develop more robust training programs, focused on increasing access to employment and career advancement for these historically disadvantaged groups. The CBA establishes goals of 45% of new hires and 20% of promotions at each facility of individuals from groups who have historically been underrepresented or underserved and have had limited access to good jobs in American manufacturing.
“Many don’t have the skills or know how to get to those positions that pay more. We are on the precipice of something big; JMA & New Flyer’s community benefits agreement should be the blueprint for manufacturers in communities across the country,” expressed Tony Christon-Walker, JMA Alabama Workforce Equity Coordinator.
The CWA meeting hall was full of women and community leaders who came to hear about the upcoming training and apprenticeship programs to either personally join or take information back to their communities. Sandy, a woman manufacturing worker on the panel, asserted, “I got into automotive manufacturing at 49 years old, and I worked with a bunch of 20 year olds. I felt I had to prove myself. But what I learned is that through the union I have had many opportunities and no fear of discrimination”.
JMA, New Flyer and our coalition partners are starting a pre-apprenticeship program that gets people ready for the workforce who may have deficits in math, reading, and other skills has kept them out of manufacturing jobs. Upon completion, they can move into the apprentice program that focuses on skilled labor like painting, welding and numerous other opportunities in manufacturing.
About Jobs To Move America (jobstomoveamerica.org)
Jobs to Move America is a strategic policy center that works to transform public spending and corporate behavior using a comprehensive approach that is rooted in racial and economic justice and community organizing. We seek to advance a fair and prosperous economy with good jobs and healthier communities for all.
For more information on this event, go here.