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AS I SEE IT: March: Women’s History Month

It’s almost at the end of our celebration of the month-long Women’s History Month. We are celebrating and honoring women, their contributions to society and their role in social development. We need to remember though that it doesn’t end there… we need to remember them year-round, all the time!

So, even beyond the month of March, we need to honor women and their contributions to society. They are vital partners for development, important cog of the wheel of change, and great energizers for progress that need constant affirmation of their contributions to society. They should not be forgotten.

In fact, once empowered, they deliver! They can equal or even surpass men in this male-dominated society.

As we remember them, let us move for equity and women’s empowerment, especially in areas where women are not excelling because of men’s domination in both traditional and non-traditional industries.

This is what Job Corps, a DOL-run program for marginalized youth ranging from 16 to 24 years old giving them a chance to earn their high school diploma, get trade certifications and high school equivalency (GED/HSE), is trying to push.

Acting National Job Corps Center Director Erin McGee noted women’s exemplary performance in society: “Women’s participation in the labor force has increased exponentially since 1950.  But while progress has been made in women’s earnings and opportunities, there had been limited advancement for women seeking employment in male-dominated skilled trades and women on the average still earn 83 cents for every dollar man earns in the same position.”

In her regular message from the US Department of Labor, Office of Job Corps tilted “Touchpoint”, she added: “We at Job Corps know it is imperative that we empower young women to follow their dreams and find a career they’re passionate about – regardless of industry or field. Industries such as construction, maintenance transportation, protective services, and fishing a forestry continue to witness a significant underrepresentation of women, with women making up less than 25% of the workforce.”

This is very significant considering that what Job Corps is doing in encouraging its female student population to explore opportunities in traditional male-dominated industries, including nontraditional occupations, is a commitment in bridging the gap between male and female opportunities in the job market.

“At Job Corps,” McGee continued, “we are committed to bridging this gap by encouraging our female student population to explore opportunities in traditionally male-dominated industries, including those ‘nontraditional’ occupations.”

To support her claim, McGee cited Cassandra, once seeking stability and independence, emerged as a leader in the male-dominated construction training program at the Don Young Alaska Job Corps Center. After excelling in a work-based learning program with H-5, a local construction company, Cassandra not only secured a permanent position but also earned two raises within a year, proving her dedication and skills. She aspires to reach the level of salesperson on construction projects and pursue welding to further enhance her abilities.

Briana, on the other hand, graduated from Job Corps in 2019 with carpentry credentials from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. Her instructors helped her join the union and she landed her first post-graduation job with American Demolition as a laborer. Now, she works for Precision Pipeline and has worked her way up from the warehouse laborer to environmental laborer.

And… over the course of two years at Cleveland Job Corps Center, Alexandra earned credentials in carpentry, green awareness, scaffolding, Ramset, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). After Job Corps, Alexandra started working at local business 1st Choice Roofing Company as an estimator.

In San Jose Job Corps Center (SJJC), the center’s Diversity Committee will sponsor Women’s History Month celebration on Friday, March 29, 2024 at the center’s Gymnasium from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. It will feature a lot of trivia activities, fun games and an art show displaying drawings, paintings, and poems related to women submitted by staff and students a couple of days before the Women’s History Month celebration.

San Jose Job Corps Center’s current Center Director is a woman – Davina Hernandez. The Deputy Center Director is a woman – La Verne Niles. They are excelling and are running the center effectively!

They are one in pushing National Center Director Erin McGee’s gesture empowering young women to follow their dreams and find their careers they are passionate of regardless of industry or field where men dominate. With these moves, it will beef up women’s power in the workforce.

My daughter Tweety, likewise need a pat in the back for being a responsible mom. Before going back to Hawaii, her husband Jonathan and daughter 4-year-old Ellie, slept overnight in our Milpitas residence. We had family bonding and Ellie was busy in he drawing board. I asked her what she was doing and she said: “I’m drawing my mom and me. Then she showed me her drawing with her mom feeding her and making sure she has the nourishment for the day.

Parenting is crucial in the child’s growth. Tweety was apparently doing her part in making sure her daughter will grow up as a responsible member of society. She is doing her share in her role as a mother and making sure she is doing it as expected from women especially during Women’s History Month. Good job, Tweety!

Women power, right?

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