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Strengthening the Family Initiatives 2008

Better Jobs!

Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO), 1994-2003

The WANTO program was designed to increase the participation of women in apprenticeships and nontraditional occupations by providing grants to community-based organizations for the delivery of technical assistance to employers and labor unions. These grants helped employers and labor unions to recruit, train, and retain women in apprenticeship and nontraditional occupations. Under a Department of Labor Inter-Agency Agreement, WANTO was jointly administered by the Women's Bureau and the Employment and Training Administration, Office of Apprenticeship. Funds for the technical assistance grants, which began in 1994, were authorized under the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) Act of 1992, Pub. L. 102-530, 29 USC § 2501, et seq. The WANTO project re-started in 2006 and is also listed under Current Projects.

From 1994 through 2003, the Women's Bureau and ETA awarded over $8.6 million in 81 grants to 37 community-based organizations to provide technical assistance to employers and labor unions to enable them to recruit, hire, train, and retain women in apprenticeships and nontraditional occupations.

The Women's Bureau is pleased to announce the 2003 Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grantees:

Northern New England Tradeswomen, Inc., Essex Junction, Vermont
Nontraditional Employment for Women, New York City
Women's Resource Center, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Chicago Women in Trades, Chicago, Illinois
Area Resources for Community and Human Services, St. Louis, Missouri
Montana Job Training Partnership, Helena, Montana
Tradeswomen, Inc., Oakland, California
Women in Non Traditional Employment Roles, Long Beach, California
Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc., Portland, Oregon
HRC, Inc., Wasilla, Alaska

View brief descriptions of their projects.

Working Women in Transition

Working Women in Transition (WWIT) was a multi-regional project focused on women who were making a transition in their work lives. WWIT used the Bureau’s unique strategy of combining both “high tech” and “high touch” components (online and interpersonal resources) to assist women in finding employment, increasing their earnings, and/or entering into career education/training opportunities. Participants had access to online mentors (“e-mentoring”), online employment tools, and distance learning resources while also working with local service providers. Each region ,addressed the issues and concerns of a different target population. The Bureau undertook this project with the support of the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

Contact : Paulette Lewis, Region IV ( Atlanta, GA), 404-562-2336 and/or Suzanne Burnette, National Office ( Washington, DC), 202-693-6710.

Military Spouse Resource Center

A joint project between the Department of Labor's Women's Bureau, Employment and Training Administration (ETA), and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, in cooperation with the Department of Defense (DOD), this online learning tool and resource guide helps military spouses access training and placement opportunities, community resources, and their local workforce development systems. The Resource Center Web site,, is managed by ETA and DOD.

Contact: Sarah Miller, National Office ( Washington, DC), 202-693-6710.


Group E-Mentoring in Nursing (GEM-Nursing) was a multi-regional project of the Women's Bureau in partnership with the University of Michigan School of Nursing. This initiative was designed to increase awareness of the benefits of a career in nursing. A dynamic website, featuring valuable information on the nursing profession, educational programs, and links to financial aid resources, was a key component of the project. Also popular was an online mentoring component for young men and women aged 15 to 21 interested in considering nursing as a career. Volunteer nurse mentors from a variety of nursing fields provided guidance and support to young people by answering questions and sharing career experiences.

Contact: Jacqueline Cooke, Region I ( Boston, MA), 617-565-1988.

Women with Disabilities Entrepreneurship Project

Four regions (IV, VII, VIII, and IX) hosted this two-year project to train women with disabilities to become entrepreneurs. Participants were educated and guided through the steps necessary for success, including exploring viable options, developing a business plan, and securing funding to open their businesses.

Contact : Cindy Henning, Region IV ( North Carolina), 828-505-1547.

Girls E-Mentoring In Science, Engineering & Technology (GEM-SET)

In fiscal year (FY) 2002, the Women's Bureau created Girls’ E-Mentoring in Science, Engineering & Technology (GEM-SET), a multi-regional project that linked girls ages 13 to 18 with volunteer women mentors in the fields of science, engineering, and technology via e-mail and a Web site to help increase the awareness of the economic benefits and the career options available in these fields. GEM-SET II expanded to cover all 10 regions in FY 2003, serving girls in 35 states. In FY 2004, the Women's Bureau focused GEM-SET III to serve girls of immigrant backgrounds who often have cultural and language needs and concerns that are markedly different from the general student population. The program primarily served Hispanic and Asian immigrant girls in Chicago, New York City, Houston, Miami, and Los Angeles. The University of Illinois at Chicago , the co-sponsor and contractor of GEM-SET, is continuing this project with funding from the private sector. For more information about GEM-SET and its replication, please visit the GEM-SET Web site at: ww

Contact : Nancy Chen, Region V ( Chicago, IL), 312-353-6985.

On-Line Learning Demonstration

The On-Line Learning Demonstration Project was a collaborative effort between the Women's Bureau, DOL's Employment and Training Administration, and the New Jersey Department of Labor. The program provided online learning for single mothers with school-aged children in five New Jersey counties. Through this project, the Women's Bureau examined the feasibility of participants earning computer certification or an Associates degree through online courses compared with traditional educational settings and methods. The offered courses were designed to prepare the participants for high skilled jobs in their local communities. For additional information, please visit the Women's Bureau's Web site at:

Contact: Karen Furia, National Office ( Washington, DC), 202-693-6710.

Employer-Driven Older Women Workers

The Bureau's Employer-Driven Older Worker Program, through Women’s Bureau Regions V and VI, partnered with CVS Pharmacy to provide basic computer and life skills training to older Hispanic and Asian American women. Upon completion of the program, these women could apply for entry-level career ladder positions with CVS Pharmacy and other retail businesses.

Contact: Beverly Lyle, Region VI ( Dallas, TX), 972-850-4700 and/or Nancy Chen, Region V ( Chicago, IL), 312-353-6985.

The Ground Zero Initiative: Building a Pipeline of Women for the Skilled Trades in Metropolitan New York (Construction Trades Prep)

This program directly addressed the needs of the building trades by increasing both the number of female workers in the industry in New York City and the level of technical assistance Non-traditional Employment for Women (NEW) provided to unions and potential employers. NEW is a nonprofit organization that trains women for jobs in the building trades, the utilities and transportation industries, and facilities repair and maintenance. The Women’s Bureau’s Ground Zero Initiative provided classes at night to accommodate working women who wanted to increase their earnings by participating in skilled apprenticeship programs. This was an accelerated six-week program, which met three nights a week and Saturday. It provided extensive job readiness training, an introduction to the trades, a review of trades math, and a hands-on shop component.

Contact: Karen Furia, National Office ( Washington, DC), 202-693-6710.

Better Earnings!

Financial Literacy for Native Women

In partnership with Native Public Media (NPM) based in Oakland, California, the Women’s Bureau (Region IX) managed the Financial Literacy for Native American Women project. This project used the Wi$eUp curriculum (see Wi$eUp under Current Projects) to provide financial education to women in rural, isolated communities. Using public service announcements, podcasts, and local community classes, this project helped Native American women gain financial knowledge via reservation-based public radio stations and programs.

Building upon the NPM financial literacy outreach efforts, the Women's Bureau offered additional Wi$eUp classroom activities on reservations and through tribal and community organizations within the NPM broadcast area. Financial information was taught using an approach that was culturally appropriate to the Native American communities.

Contact: Jenny Erwin, Region IX ( San Francisco, CA), 415-625-2638.

Las Mujeres y el Dinero (Women and Money)

This program consisted of a series of financial education conferences held across the country for Hispanic women who faced unique challenges regarding financial security. Las Mujeres y el Dinero (Women and Money) programs empowered Latinas to learn more about financial security and how to plan for a strong financial future. Eleven financial literacy programs were held in ten states across the nation. The kickoff event was held in Phoenix, Arizona, on October 23, 2003.

Contact: Jenny Erwin, Region IX ( San Francisco, CA), 415-625-2638 and/or Suzanne Burnette, National Office ( Washington, DC), 202-693-6710.

Women Managing Those Dollar$

The primary objective of this initiative was to assist women in overcoming personal financial management challenges and help them to complete plans of action that address their specific needs. Women’s Bureau Regions V, VII, IX, and X developed projects that addressed specific topics related to the Wi$eUp curriculum (see Wi$eUp under Current Projects).

Contact: Karen Furia, National Office ( Washington, DC), 202-693-6710.

Value-Added Supporters!


In response to the President's Management Agenda effort to bring people closer to government, the Women's Bureau launched e-News in April 2002 -- an electronic newsletter designed to inform women workers about the Bureau's programs and activities. Previous editions of e-News focused on Women's History Month, Women and Technology, Economic Security, Strengthening the Family, Jobs and Economic Growth, Tax Relief and Financial Security, Women’s Bureau Projects (for Better Jobs! Better Earnings! and Better Living!), Women Business Owners, National Women’s Leadership Summits, and Women’s Bureau Success Stories.

Contact: Karen Furia, National Office ( Washington, DC), 202-693-6710.

Leadership Forums

The Women’s Bureau held informational forums that brought together women leaders from faith-based organizations, chambers of commerce, employers, corporate America, local industry, and state and local governments to learn about and discuss the Women’s Bureau’s projects. At the forums, the Women’s Bureau provided guidance to enable attendees to replicate the projects in their states and communities. In fiscal years 2004 - 2008, the Women’s Bureau held forums in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

Contact : Karen Furia, National Office ( Washington, DC), 202-693-6710.