Since 1987, Vermont Works for Women (VWW) has worked directly with women, girls, and gender-expansive individuals to dismantle gender bias and societal barriers to economic security.
Through direct service programming, partnerships, and policy, our goal is to ensure education and work environments are equitable and accessible for all while supporting local community needs across Vermont.
Equity in Infrastructure
Widespread solutions are necessary to meet our labor needs across Vermont and help our state compete for historic federal infrastructure funding necessary to build economic growth. Vermont needs to prioritize the recruitment and retention of underrepresented workers – particularly women – in the trades to meet these growing labor demands. VWW supports:
- Increasing workforce funding to expand women’s access to good-paying jobs and help the state address its labor needs.
- Ensuring that equity organizations are included in the planning and implementation of federally funded infrastructure projects.
- Enhancing career exploration pathways and support from middle school through job placement to ensure long term retention and industry growth.
Our Equity in Infrastructure framework outlines our state’s opportunities to increase funding, build our workforce, and provide equitable pathways. Substantial federal funds will be spent on infrastructure projects over the next decade and employers are already held back by recruitment challenges, an aging workforce, and failed attempts to rebuild the labor force after the pandemic.
Until the skilled trades tackle gender and racial diversity in the workforce, they will likely lack the ability to meet future needs.
Career and Technical Education Pathways and Funding
Vermont Career and Technical Education programs have the training ability and regional access to train our next-generation workforce, but lack the diversified enrollment to meet labor demands.
By increasing gender equity within career and technical education centers throughout the state, we can increase the enrollment of underrepresented students and support current students to be more successful post-graduation.
- Fund gender-specific programming to provide girls with hands-on exposure to a variety of trades and career paths non-traditional for their gender.
- CTE centers can utilize Perkins V funding to partner with VWW and other community organizations for gender-specific recruitment and retention activities.
- Statewide CTE marketing initiatives must include diverse representation and be intentionally designed to engage underrepresented students.
Continuity of Services for Justice-Involved Women
Justice-involved women in Vermont face tremendous barriers to economic independence after their release. Providing career training programs and wraparound supports to women in-facility and while in transition helps their successful reintegration into the community.
With plans moving forward for a new women’s facility, it is imperative that gender responsive supports and employment services are prioritized.
- Invest in community-based vocational training as an extension of in-facility vocational trainings.
- Prioritize and invest in robust services at the women’s prison and re-entry center that align with community employment and economic opportunities.
- Increase the availability of transitional housing, with wraparound supports, for women leaving incarceration.
We use our voice to raise awareness about the challenges women and girls face in Vermont. By working on the entire system – from the individual needs of women and girls to workplace culture to public policy – we are creating real change that advances equity and economic justice for women.