The Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grant, administered by the Workforce Development Board, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida Counties, Inc., (WDB/HMO) is celebrating the 7th annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), taking place November 15 – 21, 2021.

Across the Nation, NAW celebrates the role of apprenticeships in helping workers “earn while they learn,” while preparing for good-paying jobs across many industries, including trades, information technology (IT), advanced manufacturing, transportation, public safety, agriculture, and more. And at the same time, apprenticeship programs are helping to create a diverse and highly skilled talent pipeline to meet the workforce needs of businesses.

“Registered apprenticeships provide a path to the middle class for workers, and this year’s National Apprenticeship Week event is an opportunity to bring together partners with a vested interest in expanding apprenticeship programs and creating a pipeline to success attainable for everyone,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh in a release. “National Apprenticeship Week allows stakeholders to engage with one another, generate ideas and share creative solutions for encouraging apprenticeship, retraining our workforce and rebuilding our middle class.”

The WDB/HMO’s WANTO grant helps recruit, train, and retain women in quality pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs, and encourages them to pursue apprenticeships and nontraditional occupations. The program offers a unique opportunity to females who are interested in any nontraditional occupation. A nontraditional occupation is any career in which females make up 25% or less of the workforce, including but not limited to: advanced manufacturing, information technology (IT), public safety, transportation, agriculture, and the trades. By participating in WANTO, women can pave the way for themselves and future generations to be valuable employees in these fields.

WANTO recently interviewed two female apprentices, Jessica and Crystal, to learn about what the apprenticeship experience has been like for them, and to show other women that these careers can be for them. Their stories can be viewed on the WDB/HMO’s YouTube channel:


WANTO Project Director Stephanie Heiland says, “We want to show women that they have as much opportunity when it comes to employment as their male counterparts. By giving them the proper training they need for the workforce, we can help them build the confidence they need to be successful in these fields.”

This program serves females, ages 18 and up, living in Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Onondaga, Otsego, Schoharie, St. Lawrence, Tioga, and Tompkins counties. WANTO is also seeking businesses to partner with that want to upskill their workforce and make their work environment more welcoming for women.

Interested businesses and eligible females should contact Stephanie Heiland at 315.207.6951 x110,, or on Facebook @WANTOhmo

This program is 100% funded by a United States Department of Labor grant administered by the Women’s Bureau and Employment and Training Administration of $716,676.00.


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