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May 25, 2019 | Training

The Sisters in the Brotherhood

The North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters is continuing to make great strides in increasing the number of women and people of color in the union. The Sisters in the Brotherhood (SIB) plays a crucial role in the recruitment of women and in building and strengthening our union. It does outreach and provides information to women about the opportunity to learn a skilled trade and carve a successful career path with wage and benefit equality.

Workforce development boards, high schools, and community organizations have all collaborated with the union to spread the word. In 2015, the SIB in New York established a pre-apprentice program that allows participants a trial period to learn if carpentry is a fit for them.

The program includes classroom sessions and time learning basics in training centers. Grant funding allows women to receive some tools, boots and a gas stipend.

A pre-apprentice program was established in the Hudson Valley area of New York by SIB earlier this year. Since then, three programs have been held in the area, with 10 women participating in the latest session. That six-week program began in early March, followed by a graduation ceremony in April at the Rock Tavern Training Center. Upon completion, the women directly entered the apprenticeship program as first-year carpenter apprentices.

“The pre-apprenticeship program not only helps to build confidence and work as a member of a team, but it also teaches the skills needed to be successful on the job,” said Nicole Grodner, Chairperson of Sisters in the Brotherhood, New York.

“Over the six weeks, women learn about everything from the history of the union to basic hand and power tool safety and operation, to building scaffolds, sheet rocking, layout, flooring, ceilings, concrete and OSHA. With a good attitude, determination, and hard work ethic, every sister has unlimited potential to succeed as a union carpenter,” Grodner said.

SIB and their sponsored pre-apprenticeship program have successfully increased opportunities for women in the trades throughout the council. More pre-apprenticeship programs are always underway or in development.