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Blue Collar Caucus Co-chairs Boyle and Veasey Introduce Legislation to Empower Women in Nontraditional Occupations

October 30, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (PA-02) and Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33), both co-chairs of the Blue Collar Caucus, introduced the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations Amendment Act to support more women in apprenticeship programs. 

“Working class Americans are the backbone to a strong economy, but—for too long—women have been severely underrepresented in apprenticeship programs. By alleviating the barriers women face, we can further strengthen our economy and ensure middle class families have the economic security they deserve,” said Congressman Boyle. “Guaranteeing that women receive equal access to economic opportunities is a key pillar of Democrats’ agenda for women and families, and a core of our effort to deliver bigger paychecks and greater opportunities to all hard-working Americans. I’m proud to introduce this bill to support more women in apprenticeship programs.”

“Women comprise nearly half of the United States workforce but only account for 7% of all apprenticeship participation,” said Congressman Veasey. “This legislation will increase diversity in our American workforce by addressing barriers that keep women from participating in apprenticeship programs and modernize the WANTO program to reflect our economy’s need for skilled employees.”

The legislation will modernize the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) program to reflect our economy’s growing need for technically skilled employees and support the employment of women in fields where they are traditionally underrepresented, like manufacturing and the building trades, by providing technical assistance to employers and labor unions.

Specifically, the WANTO Amendment Act will expand the program beyond the six grants it issues each year to at least one grant awarded in each state and territory. Grantees will also be able to use the funds to help pay for transportation and childcare costs, which are two issues identified as barriers women face in participating in apprenticeships.