Our programs engage Vermont women and youth
Vermont Works for Women (VWW) offers a holistic continuum of innovative training and education programs to engage Vermont women and youth (including girls, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and gender-questioning individuals) in thinking about and planning for their future. Programs provide real-world, hands-on experiences and empowerment through coaching or mentoring.
VWW has a longstanding commitment to connecting girls and women to experiences that will put them on a path to economic independence. Our youth program philosophy and curricula are responsive to the needs and experiences of adolescent girls and gender diverse youth. We do not expect that all youth in our programs will go on to become carpenters or engineers—but we hope to expose them to tools, role models, and transferable problem-solving skills to provide an expansive array of career options as they graduate high school and enter adulthood.
VWW supports women and gender non-conforming individuals to identify careers that meet their needs, map out steps to reach their goals, connect with local employers and female mentors, and access community resources. Through Employment and Career Services, Trailblazers, and programs for women with a history or current involvement with the justice system, VWW supports over 200 women each year to secure employment with supportive local employers.
ROSIE'S GIRLS CAMPS
Rosie’s Girls is VWW's trades and career exploration summer day camp for girls and gender non-conforming youth entering grades 6-8.
In 2020, in-person camps were not a viable option due to the pandemic. Instead, we developed an alternative way to engage youth during the summer months: Rosie’s Girls Project Kits. The Rosie's Girls Project Kits were full of at-home, age appropriate, trades and career exploration-related activities that could be completely self-directed. Some of the highlights were metal sun catcher kits, a custom activity guide based on our camp programming, a birdhouse to construct and decorate, and a toolbox full of tools to complete the projects. Kits were free to all participants.
ROSIE'S GIRLS AFTERSCHOOL
Rosie’s Girls Afterschool program adapts our highly successful summer camp curriculum providing middle school girls and gender non-conforming youth with hands-on trades and career exploration opportunities into an afterschool model. We piloted this new program during the 2019/2020 school year in partnership with 6 schools in 4 Vermont counties. The pandemic caused some schools to cancel their plans; however, programming did run at 3 schools serving 25 students from St. Albans, Winooski, and Morrisville early in 2020.
For the 2020/2021 school year, VWW developed a flexible kit-based model similar to our summer offering, which gives schools the option of offering the program in-person, online, or in a hybrid model. Rosie’s Girls Afterschool Project Kits contain engaging hands-on projects, supplies and tools, as well as a journal, safety gear, and a chapter book. Each kit follows a STEM theme (Wood & Metal, Water & Natural Resources, and Invention) and is paired with our social and emotional curriculum called Power Skills that gives middle schoolers tools to develop self-confidence, recognize their potential and pursue new possibilities.
TECH CENTER PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
VWW partners with Vermont Career and Technical Education Centers in communities around the state to improve gender equity practices and encourage female enrollment in non-traditional career training programs.
WOMEN CAN DO
Women Can Do is VWW’s annual one-day career exploration conference for high school girls and gender non-conforming youth, held each fall at Vermont Technical College. Due to the pandemic, Vermont Works for Women moved Women Can Do from the fall of 2020 to the spring of 2021 and expanded the event to a full week of activities, events, and opportunities for female and gender non-conforming high school students to explore STEM and other non-traditional fields.
EMPLOYMENT & CAREER SERVICES
Our Employment and Career Services help women to gain employability skills that can lead to meaningful work and economic stability. Our work is targeted to serve women in transition: women with substantial barriers to employment such as generational poverty, histories of substance use disorder or incarceration; women transitioning between career fields; and women advancing in their careers. Typically our programs are offered in community and classroom settings in Chittenden and Franklin counties; during the pandemic, we shifted to providing coaching and employment support primarily via phone and video chat. In 2020, VWW served 100 women in 10 counties.
CAREER MENTOR NETWORk
In November 2020, VWW launched a career mentoring program to connect working women statewide. Through this program, volunteer career mentors from a variety of professional backgrounds are matched with women around the state seeking employment and/or career advice.
TRAILBLAZERS: TRADES TRAINING PROGRAM
Several years ago, VWW went back to its trades training roots thanks to a substantial grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau. The resulting Trailblazers program combines hands-on hard skills training in the high demand fields of construction and other trades with VWW’s effective soft skills curriculum and employment support services to provide women with the expertise and confidence they need to start careers in the trades.
The Trailblazers class of 2020 began in March, but was quickly paused when the pandemic impeded technical hands-on instruction. Months later, the class reconvened at the Carpenters’ Union training facility in South Burlington, where participants followed new COVID-19 safety protocols. Five participants graduated from Trailblazers in August, and three received job offers.
As a contracted service provider within Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility (CRCF, Vermont’s women’s prison) since 2001, our staff work with women while incarcerated to develop employability and executive functioning skills to support their successful re-entry into the community.
In 2020, 112 women inside CRCF received work readiness training and release planning; 53 percent of clients followed up with VWW for reentry support post-release.
GENDER EQUITY SERVICES
Vermont Works for Women offers an array of services for employers and schools to build on current efforts and initiatives to increase gender equity within the workplace and educational environments. These services include professional development workshops, individualized consultation, youth engagement opportunities, and ongoing support, tailored to the needs of the company or school/tech center.