Rising Sun Announces Women-Only Construction Class Bridging the Gender Gap in the Building Trades

For Immediate Release

Berkeley, California – March 7, 2016 – Rising Sun Energy Center’s Green Energy Training Services (GETS) program will begin its women-only workforce development cohort, Women Build, on Monday, March 14, 2016. Women Build will be the first and only women’s pre-apprenticeship class offered in the Bay Area. GETS is a job training program for adults who are interested in starting a career in construction, energy efficiency or solar, and union apprenticeships.

Green Energy Training Services has offered a variety of training courses since 2009. GETS’ impact on its more than 500 training participants has been impressive. Over 75% of program graduates have been placed in employment.  Recognizing the lack of women enrolled in each training cohort, in 2015, the GETS team began envisioning an all-female cohort to support women interested in careers in the building trades, and those seeking a pathway towards a union membership. After winning a grant from California’s Workforce Accelerator Fund, the program was greenlit and Rising Sun and a host of partners inclusive of Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council, the City of Berkeley, Tradeswomen, Inc. began designing the class.

Women Build comes as California’s construction workforce is booming. California estimates 34% of construction job growth over the next seven years. While women make up almost half of the overall workforce, they represent less than 3% of the construction workforce, and only 2% of construction apprentices in the state (National Women’s Law Center, 2014). Women Build will work to fill this gap, specifically addressing the skill and support needs of women, hands-on job training leading to an industry-recognized certification, as well as guidance and tips from female union leaders in the field.

Participants begin with an 8-week training intensive at Rising Sun’s Berkeley facility. After completing training, they benefit from ongoing case management and job placement assistance, as well as alumni events and resources. All participants must be 18 years of age or older, have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent (foreign degrees accepted), have a basic understanding of English, and be eligible to work in the United States. Interested applicants should contact Melvin Parham, the GETS Case Manager, at 510-665-1501 ext. 202.

About Rising Sun

Since 1994, Rising Sun Energy Center (Rising Sun) is a Berkeley-based non-profit with a mission to empower individuals to achieve environmental and economic sustainability for themselves and their communities. With a focus on under-served populations, Rising Sun provides youth and low-income adults with meaningful training and employment opportunities in the growing energy efficiency sector, while delivering no-cost energy upgrades to thousands of households each year.


About Women Build

Women Build, Rising Sun’s pilot all women pre-apprenticeship program, is made possible by support from the California Workforce Development Board’s Workforce Accelerator Fund and through partnership with the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board, the Workforce Benefits Administration of the Alameda County Social Services Agency, the Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council, the City of Berkeley, Tradeswomen, Inc., the West Oakland Job Resource Center, and Rubicon Programs.


Marrion Johnson

Communications and Development Coordinator

Rising Sun Energy Center

510-665-1501 ext 106




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