Manitoba’s provincial government has announced funds geared toward propelling women into fields of work dominated by men, like construction and information technology.
The announcement, by Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox, came on Monday, International Women’s Day.
“As we celebrate International Women’s Day this year and continue to address the challenges posed by COVID-19, our government is proud to support programs providing women the opportunity to receive quality training in non-traditional jobs, such as those offered in the heavy construction industry and information and communications technology industries,” said Cox.
“These programs and partnerships with industry and the education sector will give women the skills they need to enter fields with secure employment opportunities that will also be of particular importance to our province’s economic recovery efforts in the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic.”
The province is providing $25,000 to expand the Empower program at the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT), which offers training to women in the fields of information and communications technology.
An additional $25,000 is earmarked for the Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC), which is working with the River East Transcona School Division to promote careers for women in the heavy construction industry.
The MCSC program gives Grade 12 students career advice and networking opportunities with industry leaders.
Colleen Munro, MCSC board chair, said only 3.4 per cent of workers in heavy construction are women.
“There is no better time to introduce young women to the heavy construction industry,” she said.
“The young women attending this course will have all the tools they need to make a smooth transition to work.
“Women are known to take excellent care of equipment, follow directions and pay close attention to details. The employers are excited about meeting the women and opening doors to their future.”
Dayna Spiring, president and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg, told 680 CJOB it’s important to recognize how far women have come, while also acknowledging that there are some industries where women still struggle to get recognition.
“I think we need to celebrate accomplishments, and we need to raise each other up,” said Spiring.
“Women have hit a lot of glass ceilings for a long time. The world has changed, no question, and there’s a ton of opportunities out there, but it wasn’t always that way.
“I think it’s great to recognize the people that came before us… it’s great to celebrate those accomplishments.”