Women complete training for manufacturing careers

Aug. 16, 2018

Eight women from the Tri-State have completed a one-of-a-kind program preparing them for a career in manufacturing. The Step Up for Women Advanced Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship Program will honor graduates August 24 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. during a ceremony at the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) in Huntington. The public is invited.

Summer 2018 graduates are Alexis Baskowsky, Crystal Kay, Peggy Lawson, Meghan Hackney, Jenka Lockwood and Kissy Young, all of Huntington; Bobbi Lewis of Gallipolis Ferry; and Tamika Summerfield of Alum Creek. Step Up for Women is a partnership between West Virginia Women Work and Apprenticeship Works, the National Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Partnership at RCBI.

“We’re proud that our unique approach attracts more women to manufacturing, which is necessary if we’re to bridge the critical skills gap in this American industrial sector,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI Director & CEO. “Step Up for Women empowers graduates, leading to good-paying jobs with benefits and rewarding careers.”

The 10-week class prepares women for entry-level manufacturing careers, teaching them skills to succeed as machinists or in related industrial occupations and includes operation of manual and computer-controlled mills and lathes. Other core classes cover blueprint reading, precision measurement and inspection, OSHA safety as well as general employment skills.

Participants receive free tuition and travel reimbursements as well as industrial work clothes and boots. Believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, Step Up program serves as a model for other pre-apprenticeship programs across the country that aim to bring more women into manufacturing. As a result of its success at RCBI Huntington, the Step Up program expanded to RCBI Bridgeport in December 2017.

Enrollment information is available by calling Step Up Program Coordinator Melinda Perron at 304.528.9991 or by going to www.wvwomenwork.org/stepupamp.

Step Up for Women is made possible through the U.S. Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship Initiative.