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Manitoba Government News Release–The Manitoba government is investing $50,000 for two initiatives that support and encourage women pursuing non-traditional career options, including a program that focuses on increasing Indigenous women’s representation, Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox, minister responsible for the status of women, announced today.

“As we celebrate International Women’s Day this year and continue to address the challenges posed by COVID-19, our government is proud to support programs providing women the opportunity to receive quality training in non-traditional jobs, such as those offered in the heavy construction industry and information and communications technology industries,” said Cox. “These programs and partnerships with industry and the education sector will give women the skills they need to enter fields with secure employment opportunities that will also be of particular importance to our province’s economic recovery efforts in the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic.”

The province is providing $25,000 to expand the Empower program at the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT) that offers women training in the growing information and communications technology industries. The program encourages and supports women pursuing non-traditional career options at MITT and includes a focus on increasing Indigenous women’s representation.

“We once again thank the province for supporting our efforts at removing barriers for women interested in careers in trades or tech,” says Beverlie Stuart, acting vice-president, academic, MITT. “Through this funding, we can give women an opportunity to find their spark or, if they know they want a career in tech, take an important first step along their career education journey with MITT.”

These programs will help more women succeed in non-traditional work in industries that often offer good-paying jobs, employee benefits and more job security than would be found in many traditional, female-dominated careers, such as retail and hospitality. Initiatives like these are crucial for advancing economic equality for women and building a healthier more prosperous society, the minister noted.

In addition, the province is providing $25,000 to support the Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC) to promote careers for women in the heavy construction industry, in partnership with the River East Transcona School Division. Young women in Grade 12 and/or adults will receive career awareness, certificates and networking opportunities with leaders in the heavy construction industry with an opportunity for employment in the spring of 2021.

“There is no better time to introduce young women to the heavy construction industry,” said Colleen Munro, board chair, MCSC, noting the current skill shortage in an industry in which only 3.4 per cent of the workforce are women. “The young women attending this course will have all the tools they need to make a smooth transition to work. Women are known to take excellent care of equipment, follow directions and pay close attention to details. The employers are excited about meeting the women and opening doors to their future.”

International Women’s Day, recognized on March 8, is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.