Mission and History

ABOUT TRADESWOMEN, INC.

Founded in 1979, Tradeswomen, Inc. (TWI) was one of California’s first organizations for women in the trades and continues to be one of the most active and effective organizations in the nation focused exclusively on the needs of women in the skilled trades. TWI’s mission and goals are to:

  1. Recruit more women into construction and related trades;
  2. Promote retention of women in the trades; and
  3. Develop their capacity for leadership and career growth, on the job and in their unions.

In its first 30 years, TWI has published Tradeswomen magazine, the only national magazine written by and for blue collar women; sponsored the first national conference for women in the trades; designed and operated a pre-apprenticeship program for women assisted by funding from the Women’s Bureau; and implemented a number of support groups and workshops for Bay Area tradeswomen.

TWI co-organized the first Women Building California Conference now in its 14th year with the State of California Building and Construction Trades Council. TWI continues as co-host of the Women Building the California and Nation Conference, now in its 4th year with the Women’s Committee of the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO as partners.

Among other current programs, TWI conducts a women-only pre-apprenticeship program for the Pacific Gas & Electric’s PowerPathway Program for women entering into trades careers in Utilities; TWI conducts general Entry to Apprenticeship for Women workshops on a monthly basis; TWI publishes an annual Tradeswomen Calendar featuring working tradeswomen on their jobsites; and TWI works with the Center for Domestic Peace to inform and prepare victims of domestic violence for opportunities in the trades. TWI is part of a regional collaboration with Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. and Washington’s Apprenticeship and Non-Traditional Employment for Women through a WANTO grant sponsored by the US Department of Labor. Through this grant, TWI provides technical assistance to area apprenticeship programs to recruit and retain women in their programs.

TWI works with a strong network of volunteers, with many TWI members holding elected and appointed leadership positions within their unions. As an organization, TWI maintains strong partnerships with State and regional organizations with critical linkages to the skilled trades including the State of California Building and Construction Trades Council, the California Workforce Investment Board, and the California Department of Apprenticeship Standards.