Skill gap could help close gender pay gap in Hamilton

News Apr 08, 2016 by Joel OpHardt The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton's skilled trades gap could help close the gender pay gap, a panel on women in the workplace was told.

"We are facing a skill shortage," said YWCA Hamilton director of employment and training services Maisie Raymond-Brown, speaking to the Spectator before the chamber of commerce's Thursday evening discussion. "Women can rise to the occasion, and fill this gap."

With a swath of trade workers expected to retire in the near future, the YWCA has jumped on the opportunity by trying to draw more women into the trades, a field typically dominated by men, said Raymond-Brown.

"These are good jobs with benefits and security," said Raymond-Brown, adding that they can go a long way to closing the gender pay gap.

A new pre-apprenticeship program, funded by the ministry of training colleges and universities, started just two weeks ago and is expected to help kick-start a new generation of working women. The YWCA in conjunction with Mohawk College, offers the program to women with high school degrees — many of which have been out of school for years — become employed as a skilled trades worker.

The 14 women are currently being eased into the program with academic upgrading, safety training, and a life-skills workshop at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, after which they will attend Mohawk, said Raymond-Brown. There, they'll receive a 12-week level-one certification as a machinist, and a two-week taste of millwright training.

The YWCA hopes to conclude the program by facilitating an eight-week placement in industry.

Though Mohawk has a few pre-apprenticeship programs already offered at the college, this one is customized to the needs of the women.

Audie McCarthy, another panellist and President and CEO of Mohawk College Enterprise, told the Spectator the college has slowly seen numbers rise in women attending trades courses, but those numbers still have room to grow.

In this year's plumber pre-apprenticeship program two of 22 are female, refrigeration has three of 22, and autobody and collision damage repair has three of 20.

This time last year, those numbers would have probably been around zero, she said. Part of the issue is the image that manufacturing has earned from past decades.

"For years and years we have shied away from the trades because they seemed dirty, but manufacturing has changed," said McCarthy. One solution for the college has been bringing in students in elementary school to see and play with some of the high-tech tools involved in trades.

Raymond-Brown says the YWCA has been working with a few local partners to produce a tool kit to help employers change their work environment to become more accommodating for women.

One issue in particular has already been cropping up in their focus group studies, she said. Many trades and educators simply aren't gearing their job advertisements toward women.

"For them, words like foreman communicate that they are not welcome," said Raymond-Brown

Author, entrepreneur and motivational speaker Lynda Hykin, who spent decades in the manufacturing industry, told the panel that life in manufacturing can be difficult for women. She spent 10 years working on a production floor, without realizing she could progress to a position better suited to her skills.

When a superior finally mentioned that she may be a candidate for a promotion, she was surprised it was an option. When she was interviewed for a promotion her interviewers were in turn surprised that she would be willing to travel despite having kids.

"Assumptions help set us back," said Hykin. "Ask — you are going to get a no, 100 per cent of the time you don't ask."

jophardt@thespec.com

905-526-3408

Skill gap could help close gender pay gap in Hamilton

News Apr 08, 2016 by Joel OpHardt The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton's skilled trades gap could help close the gender pay gap, a panel on women in the workplace was told.

"We are facing a skill shortage," said YWCA Hamilton director of employment and training services Maisie Raymond-Brown, speaking to the Spectator before the chamber of commerce's Thursday evening discussion. "Women can rise to the occasion, and fill this gap."

With a swath of trade workers expected to retire in the near future, the YWCA has jumped on the opportunity by trying to draw more women into the trades, a field typically dominated by men, said Raymond-Brown.

"These are good jobs with benefits and security," said Raymond-Brown, adding that they can go a long way to closing the gender pay gap.

A new pre-apprenticeship program, funded by the ministry of training colleges and universities, started just two weeks ago and is expected to help kick-start a new generation of working women. The YWCA in conjunction with Mohawk College, offers the program to women with high school degrees — many of which have been out of school for years — become employed as a skilled trades worker.

The 14 women are currently being eased into the program with academic upgrading, safety training, and a life-skills workshop at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, after which they will attend Mohawk, said Raymond-Brown. There, they'll receive a 12-week level-one certification as a machinist, and a two-week taste of millwright training.

The YWCA hopes to conclude the program by facilitating an eight-week placement in industry.

Though Mohawk has a few pre-apprenticeship programs already offered at the college, this one is customized to the needs of the women.

Audie McCarthy, another panellist and President and CEO of Mohawk College Enterprise, told the Spectator the college has slowly seen numbers rise in women attending trades courses, but those numbers still have room to grow.

In this year's plumber pre-apprenticeship program two of 22 are female, refrigeration has three of 22, and autobody and collision damage repair has three of 20.

This time last year, those numbers would have probably been around zero, she said. Part of the issue is the image that manufacturing has earned from past decades.

"For years and years we have shied away from the trades because they seemed dirty, but manufacturing has changed," said McCarthy. One solution for the college has been bringing in students in elementary school to see and play with some of the high-tech tools involved in trades.

Raymond-Brown says the YWCA has been working with a few local partners to produce a tool kit to help employers change their work environment to become more accommodating for women.

One issue in particular has already been cropping up in their focus group studies, she said. Many trades and educators simply aren't gearing their job advertisements toward women.

"For them, words like foreman communicate that they are not welcome," said Raymond-Brown

Author, entrepreneur and motivational speaker Lynda Hykin, who spent decades in the manufacturing industry, told the panel that life in manufacturing can be difficult for women. She spent 10 years working on a production floor, without realizing she could progress to a position better suited to her skills.

When a superior finally mentioned that she may be a candidate for a promotion, she was surprised it was an option. When she was interviewed for a promotion her interviewers were in turn surprised that she would be willing to travel despite having kids.

"Assumptions help set us back," said Hykin. "Ask — you are going to get a no, 100 per cent of the time you don't ask."

jophardt@thespec.com

905-526-3408

Skill gap could help close gender pay gap in Hamilton

News Apr 08, 2016 by Joel OpHardt The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton's skilled trades gap could help close the gender pay gap, a panel on women in the workplace was told.

"We are facing a skill shortage," said YWCA Hamilton director of employment and training services Maisie Raymond-Brown, speaking to the Spectator before the chamber of commerce's Thursday evening discussion. "Women can rise to the occasion, and fill this gap."

With a swath of trade workers expected to retire in the near future, the YWCA has jumped on the opportunity by trying to draw more women into the trades, a field typically dominated by men, said Raymond-Brown.

"These are good jobs with benefits and security," said Raymond-Brown, adding that they can go a long way to closing the gender pay gap.

A new pre-apprenticeship program, funded by the ministry of training colleges and universities, started just two weeks ago and is expected to help kick-start a new generation of working women. The YWCA in conjunction with Mohawk College, offers the program to women with high school degrees — many of which have been out of school for years — become employed as a skilled trades worker.

The 14 women are currently being eased into the program with academic upgrading, safety training, and a life-skills workshop at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, after which they will attend Mohawk, said Raymond-Brown. There, they'll receive a 12-week level-one certification as a machinist, and a two-week taste of millwright training.

The YWCA hopes to conclude the program by facilitating an eight-week placement in industry.

Though Mohawk has a few pre-apprenticeship programs already offered at the college, this one is customized to the needs of the women.

Audie McCarthy, another panellist and President and CEO of Mohawk College Enterprise, told the Spectator the college has slowly seen numbers rise in women attending trades courses, but those numbers still have room to grow.

In this year's plumber pre-apprenticeship program two of 22 are female, refrigeration has three of 22, and autobody and collision damage repair has three of 20.

This time last year, those numbers would have probably been around zero, she said. Part of the issue is the image that manufacturing has earned from past decades.

"For years and years we have shied away from the trades because they seemed dirty, but manufacturing has changed," said McCarthy. One solution for the college has been bringing in students in elementary school to see and play with some of the high-tech tools involved in trades.

Raymond-Brown says the YWCA has been working with a few local partners to produce a tool kit to help employers change their work environment to become more accommodating for women.

One issue in particular has already been cropping up in their focus group studies, she said. Many trades and educators simply aren't gearing their job advertisements toward women.

"For them, words like foreman communicate that they are not welcome," said Raymond-Brown

Author, entrepreneur and motivational speaker Lynda Hykin, who spent decades in the manufacturing industry, told the panel that life in manufacturing can be difficult for women. She spent 10 years working on a production floor, without realizing she could progress to a position better suited to her skills.

When a superior finally mentioned that she may be a candidate for a promotion, she was surprised it was an option. When she was interviewed for a promotion her interviewers were in turn surprised that she would be willing to travel despite having kids.

"Assumptions help set us back," said Hykin. "Ask — you are going to get a no, 100 per cent of the time you don't ask."

jophardt@thespec.com

905-526-3408