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, gender-expansive, 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. 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-expansive individuals to identify careers that meet their needs, map out steps to reach their goals, connect with local employers and 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 2021, VWW hosted camp in four locations across Vermont - Essex, Winooski, Barre, and Swanton – and partnered with schools and organizations to run camp in two communities – Barnet and Bellows Falls. Thanks to the generosity of our grant funders, VWW provided Rosie’s Girls camp free of charge to all 60 participants. Each half-day camp included hands-on project kits, team-building, and Power Skills activities, all amended to meet COVID-19 guidelines. Camps utilized project kits in various STEM themes, such as wood/metal, natural resources, and invention; in this way, campers experienced the shared learning and joy that comes with completing projects together, but did not need to share tools, equipment, or close space.
ROSIE'S GIRLS AFTERSCHOOL
Rosie’s Girls Afterschool program adapts our highly successful summer camp curriculum providing middle school girls and gender-expansive youth with hands-on trades and career exploration opportunities into an afterschool model. For the 2020/2021 school year, VWW developed a flexible, kit-based model, giving schools the option of offering Rosie’s Girls Afterschool program in-person, online, or in a hybrid model. The project kits contained engaging hands-on projects, supplies, and tools, as well as a journal, safety gear, and a chapter book. Each kit was STEM-themed and paired with our social/emotional curriculum called Power Skills, giving middle school youth the tools to develop self-confidence, recognize their potential, and pursue new possibilities. VWW partnered with People’s Academy, St. Johnsbury School, NorthWoods Stewardship Center, Missisquoi Valley Union Middle/High School, Bristol Teen Hub, and Poultney Public Library in the spring of 2021. In the fall, VWW was able to return to in-person programming at Winooski Middle School (WMS), leading Rosie’s Girls Afterschool in person again for ten middle school youth.
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. Through programs such as Career Challenge Day, Youth@Work, and Tech@Work, students meet gender-diverse professionals, learn about technical program offerings, and try hands-on activities in nontraditional fields.
WOMEN CAN DO
Women Can Do is VWW’s annual one-day career exploration conference for high school girls and gender-expansive youth, held each fall at Vermont Technical College. Due to the pandemic, VWW moved Women Can Do from the fall of 2020 to the spring of 2021 and expanded the event to a full week of virtual and hands-on engagement opportunities in April 2021 female and gender non-conforming high school students to explore STEM and other non-traditional fields. VWW is looking forward to bringing back Women Can Do to the campus of Vermont Technical College on October 6, 2022.
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 the Career Mentor Network 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. Meeting with a mentor is a great way to get firsthand information about what a particular job is like, or how to get started in a specific career. You may even find out about career paths you didn’t know existed. In 2021 VWW connected 29 folks with volunteer mentors, who provided job search and application support, coaching, and advice about their profession and field.
TRAILBLAZERS: TRADES TRAINING PROGRAM
Several years ago, VWW went back to its trades training roots. Trailblazers is a training program to support the entry and success of women and gender-expansive individuals ages 16+ in construction and the trades. For participants, it is an opportunity to obtain or increase skills and certifications for jobs that are in high demand. For employers, it is a way to develop existing staff and identify new candidates to fill critical job openings. Following COVID-19 safety protocols, we graduated two cohorts of Traiblazers in 2021. Our next training starts in April 2022 in South Burlington.
As a contracted service provider within Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility (CRCF, Vermont’s women’s prison) since 2001, our staff work with justice-involved women while incarcerated to develop employability and executive functioning skills to support their successful re-entry into the community. VWW supports women to successfully integrate back into their community and find employment post release. We offer services and programming in a variety of formats and provide coaching targeted for the specific needs and goals of each client.
GENDER EQUITY SERVICES
Vermont Works for Women offers an array of gender equity 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. VWW also recognizes the value of group engagement to move towards large-scale change. In 2022, we launched a new membership program, Gender Equity Advancement Roundtable (GEAR). This program coalesces businesses, nonprofits, schools, and advocates to further learn about best practices and policies for supporting women in the workplace and to collectively advance gender equity and economic justice in the state of Vermont.
Lending our voice
VWW serves as a voice for women and girls in Vermont. As such, we regularly engage in advocacy efforts on issues that impact women’s economic justice including equal-pay, childcare, family/medical leave, sexual harassment, and workforce development. By working on the whole system – from the individual needs of women and girls to workplace culture to public policy – we are creating real change that moves the needle on economic justice for women.