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CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: mary-geraghty@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

UI offers training course for women interested in skilled trades

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Women who are interested in learning the physical, technical, and life skills necessary to launch a career in a skilled trade are invited to participate in a 12-week training course in the University of Iowa Pre-Vocational Program. The course is designed to prepare women to enter higher-paying jobs in construction, maintenance, repair, and other technical fields.

The next session of the program runs from Aug. 31-Nov. 20, and classes are held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Morning sessions consist of physical conditioning, technical math, career development, and life skills. Afternoon sessions are spent rotating among the numerous maintenance and technical shops around the UI campus. The students visit a different shop each week and learn about each trade through job shadowing and hands-on experience.

The program is free, and funds are available for transportation and childcare. In past years women have traveled from as far as Cedar Rapids and Davenport to participate.

"This program changes women's lives by giving them a chance for economic self-sufficiency," said Jefri Palermo, training coordinator for the program. "It gives women an experience of success and satisfaction in having done something to improve their lives and the lives of their families."

The majority of the 200 women who have completed the program since it began in 1990 have gone on to trade or technical schools, entered apprenticeship programs, or been hired for entry-level jobs. The UI program is the only pre-vocational program in the country that is based within a university and is designed for women.

Most jobs in which women are traditionally employed pay between $5-$8 per hour. In Johnson County a woman with two young children must earn $13-$15 per hour to be economically self-sufficient. Jobs in technical and skilled trades typically pay 30 percent more at entry level than traditional jobs for women and offer benefits and opportunities for advancement.

The UI program, which is offered three times a year, is funded by the Carl D. Perkins Technical and Vocational Education Act, the Women's Education Equity Act, and the UI.

For more information or to request an application, call (319) 335-0560 (collect calls are accepted.)

(Editors Note: Interviews can be arranged with graduates of this program who have gone on to successful trade careers. Contact Palermo or Nancy Noyer at the Pre-Vocational Training Program, 335-0560.)

7/22/98