Congress Passes Extension on WANTO Training Funds!

Senator Merkley Fair

Senator Jeff Merkley at the 2012 Women in Trades Career Fair

We’re thrilled to announce that the Women in Apprenticeship and Non Traditional Occupations (WANTO) program has received funding for another year!  Along with our co-grantees ANEW, Tradeswomen, Inc., NEW-NYC, and Chicago Women in Trades, Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. advocated for the renewal of the WANTO program, which remains the only source of federal funding that specifically targets women’s participation in apprenticeship.

Together in a coalition with our co-grantees, OTI worked closely with the staff of U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, whose leadership was instrumental to getting WANTO funds included in the federal budget.

“Women hold less than three percent of high-wage jobs in the construction industry and face many barriers in gaining access to these nontraditional jobs,” said Merkley. “I’ve fought for funding for WANTO because it will make a big difference in helping train and ultimately put women in Oregon to work in high-wage, electrical, mechanical, highway and utility trades jobs that will provide financial security for a lifetime.”


Senator Ron Wyden with TACC instructor Amy at the “Sugar Shack” in Northeast Portland

We’re proud of the work that we have accomplished with WANTO funds, which are critical to our ability to provide training to low income women at no cost to them.  This fall, students in our WANTO-funded Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class inspired community partners and Oregon leaders through their work to demolish and repurpose the former “Sugar Shack” strip club into a Cully neighborhood asset.  We were fortunate to be able to share that work with U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, who stopped by the job site after learning about our community partnership.

We’re thankful to our allies in the Senate who heard our call and took action on behalf of women everywhere.

Press Release


  1. Francoise Jacobsohn on December 18, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Congratulations! and Thank you for all your hard work.

  2. Joanne Hager on December 22, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    The impact of WANTO goes beyond Oregon, Illinois, New York and California. In Minnesota, we are being assisted in addressing our concerns as tradeswomen in our state through the resources of the Midwest Technical Center through CWIT.
    I appreciate your work on this effort and seeing it through to the end when logic prevailed and funding was extended. Bravo!

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