Training builds opportunity

Q. I have been in hourly jobs that don’t pay anything. I need a career with a future, and I don’t want to go back to school. I need a skill, and I was told there is money for retraining available. Where is the retraining money, and for what kinds of jobs?

A. Many people are looking at opportunities to retrain, retool, and reframe their careers. There is grant money available and there are training programs to be found. The Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development ( has information on a broad range of training programs. You can search their site by many criteria including occupation, or key word. There are job training programs, and an education reward loan program for over 70 occupations. Contact your local Career Center for eligibility and information about the courses.

In addition, the US Department of Labor/Education and Training Administration has provided $300,000 grant to give low income women access to job training in the construction field. “BRICC”, Building Real Careers in Construction, offers a free 6 week pre-apprenticeship training program sponsored by Action for Boston Community Development ( and The Building Trades Directors Association. The program offers training in math, computer applications and other critical skills needed for a successful career in the building trades. You will also be exposed to a range of trade careers paths including plumber, electrician, painter, bricklayer, and carpenter, and provided with information on joining a union. This pre-apprenticeship program prepares women for apprenticeship programs, with compensation starting at approximately $17 an hour.
The Massachusetts Division of Apprenticeship and Training reports that only 4% of registered apprentices in the building trades are female and federal and state regulations have a goal of increasing that to 25% which promises opportunity for women in the years ahead.
Women interested in qualifying for Boston-area apprenticeships can contact ABCD. According to Brad Howard ([email protected]), Orientation Sessions are Tuesdays at 11:00 at 19 Temple Place in Boston, and the next program will begin in January 2010. The six week program runs from 8 am to 3 pm weekdays.

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