Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day and March more generally is Women’s History Month. Today and everyday, we salute our sisters on the job and look for ways to bring more women into utility work.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women hold 22.4 percent of jobs across the utility industry. That number can grow and help meet the demand for tomorrow’s utility workers if we prioritize including women in apprenticeship programs and supporting women with career-long mentorship.
A new report by the Institute of Construction Economic Research has found that when apprenticeships are run jointly with unions, the percentage of women enrolled in the programs doubles and that "unions have been more successful at creating pipelines that attract and retain women and people of color in the industry over nonunion initiatives."
We see the impacts of these kinds of programs every day in our own membership. Darlene Arcese works at Station 34 in Lexington, MA helping to power the western Boston suburbs. After graduating from the EPUT program, an apprentice partnership between UWUA Local 369, USW Local 12004, Eversource, and Bunker Hill Community College, Arcese went to work at Eversource.
“In my role I learn a lot and I meet a lot of people at the company,” says Arcese, who serves as chief steward of UWUA Local 369. “I am constantly encouraging younger labor employees to get involved.”