Uniting the Tradeswomen who are Building Iowa’s Future
The Iowa Women in Trades network is a statewide community of construction tradeswomen who are building a secure economic future for ourselves and our families, linking more women with apprenticeship training opportunities, promoting equity and respect on the jobsite, and sharing resources for tradeswomen’s success. Iowa Women in Trades holds monthly meetings and plans leadership events in partnership with the University of Iowa Labor Center, the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council and local building trades unions, and Registered Apprenticeship programs across the state to promote pathways for women’s success in construction careers.
In 2022, with support from the Iowa Women's Foundation, the Iowa Women in Trades:
- Organized a statewide leadership summit for Iowa tradeswomen
- Met monthly to discuss everything from women's work gear to workplace rights and leadership
- Provided scholarships to help five women attend the Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference
- Spoke at several high schools about opportunities in the trades
- Produced Iowa Women in Trades flyers, social media graphics, a banner stand, and stickers
- Held a webinar celebrating women in construction to kick off National Apprenticeship week
- Welcomed new women graduates from the Labor Center's Quality Pre-Apprenticeship Program
Join Our Network!
Join Our Network!
We have a statewide meeting the first Thursday of each month at 6:30pm via Zoom, for women currently in the trades or considering construction-related careers.
Sign up to receive meeting details and learn about other upcoming events and resources for tradeswomen!
Considering a Career in the Trades?
Registered Apprenticeship programs in Iowa offer state-of-the-art training in over a dozen skilled construction trades, with paid on-the-job instruction as well as tuition-free classroom training, resulting in an industry-recognized credential that is respected nationwide. These programs meet U.S. Department of Labor guidelines and are typically one to five-year programs. Apprentices in joint labor-management (union) apprenticeship programs earn scheduled raises, health insurance, and retirement benefits as they advance through the program.
Whether you are interested in becoming a bricklayer, carpenter, electrician, insulator, iron worker, laborer, roofer, operating engineer, painter, plumber or pipefitter, sheet metal worker, or cement mason you can learn more about the skilled trades and their apprenticeship programs through the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council or or this guide from the Iowa College Access Network.
Want to gain more skills and knowledge before applying to a Registered Apprenticeship?
If you are interested in joining a skilled construction trade, but want to know more about the various trades and strengthen your application, the University of Iowa Labor Center offers a 5-week Quality Pre-Apprenticeship program, which is currently available to Iowa City residents as a result of a 5-year grant approved by the City. The program includes:
- Free 5-week course that meets evenings and weekends, providing an overview of the trades and basic construction related skills (review of construction math, blueprint reading, green construction, financial literacy, interview skills, OSHA-10 and First Aid/CPR certifications, and more!)
- Tours of area Registered Apprenticeship training centers
- Access to a tool library and other ongoing supports to promote successful entry and completion of Registered Apprenticeship programs after graduating from our Pre-Apprenticeship course
If you don't live in Iowa City, but have questions about the trades, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the website of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council
Looking for Resources to Promote Equity, Respect, and Tradeswomen's Success on the Job?
The Iowa Women in Trades Network also works to compile resources for tradeswomen, unions, and construction employers to promote safe, productive, and respectful jobsites. In addition to classes and conferences hosted by the University of Iowa Labor Center, several longstanding tradeswomen's initiatives across the country maintain great online resources such as:
- The Chicago Women in Trades and its The National Center for Women’s Equity in Apprenticeship and Employment offers online reports, best practice guides, and other materials on its website
- The Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues (a collaboration of over 70 stakeholders based in Boston) has online guides, one-page resources, and reports
- The National Taskforce on Tradeswomen’s Issues (a national coalition of organizations and individual tradeswomen members) maintains a website with links to a variety of national resources
- Respect, Inclusion, Safety, and Equity in the Construction Trades (RISEUp) is a project developed by Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Employment for Women (ANEW) to provide consulting, training, and online resources for tradeswomen, unions, and contractors
The U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau website offers data, reports, and resources on women's employment, with a page devoted to women in apprenticeship
A few other tradeswomen's organizations include: Central Ohio Women in the Trade, Nontraditional Employment for Women, Oregon Tradeswoman, Pride and a Paycheck, Tradeswomen, Inc., Utah Women in the Trades, Women in Non-Traditional Employment Roles
Tradeswomen Build Nations, North America's Building Trades Unions is a large annual conference of union tradeswomen from across the continent
Message from Andy Roberts, President of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council
As a third-generation plumber and steamfitter in Local 33, I definitely have experienced the value of Registered Apprenticeship. Beyond the training in our trades, our Registered Apprenticeship programs open so many doors and opportunities later in our careers. I am also really excited about current opportunities for diversity in the trades. I am proud that there is no wage gap in the union trades; every apprentice gets their raises at the same time, no matter who they are. We all do it together. We are a family. Women are needed in this industry. We have federal funding coming down the pipeline for infrastructure, and the opportunity to make progress on diversity is now. We're excited for what the future brings and we're happy to be a part of making progress.