Women-in-manufacturing program to graduate first Bridgeport class

May 3, 2018

BRIDGEPORT — Ten women are set to graduate from a one-of-a-kind program that prepares them for careers in advanced manufacturing. The Step Up graduation is Wednesday, May 2, from 1 to 3 p.m. at RCBI Bridgeport, 2400 E. Benedum Industrial Drive.

The Step Up for Women Advanced Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship Program is a collaboration between West Virginia Women Work and Apprenticeship Works, the National Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Partnership at the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI).

The graduates are Martha L. Anderson, Farmington; Kathy Bise, Lost Creek; Lori Cole-Boyce, Grafton; Sara Hamner, Buckhannon; Brenda Hensley, Fairview; Karla Jose, Fairmont; Shayla Lawson, Flemington; Jennifer Mills, Weston; Belinda Moore, Clarksburg; and Krissy Rutherford, Fairmont.

“We are proud of our first graduates of the Step Up for Women Program in Bridgeport,” said Charlotte Weber, Director & CEO of RCBI. “We are pleased to be able to position the graduates using our fast-start approach, and assist them as they help close the skills gap facing manufacturers across West Virginia.”

The 10-week program prepares women for entry-level manufacturing jobs, teaching them the skills they need to succeed in careers as machinists or in related industrial occupations. Participants receive free tuition and travel reimbursements as well as industrial work clothes and boots.

The Bridgeport Step Up program is accepting applications for the next class, set to begin this summer. For more information, contact Coordinator Lakiesha Hines, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 304.848.2283.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, the Step Up program serves as a model for other pre-apprenticeship programs across the country that aim to bring more skilled women into the manufacturing workforce.

The Step Up program expanded to RCBI Bridgeport with support from a WANTO (Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations) grant. West Virginia Women Work received the grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in 2017.