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October 8, 2008    DOL > WB > Strengthening the Family in the 21st Century   

Strengthening the Family in the 21st Century Initiatives

Better Jobs! Better Earnings! Better Living!

Previous Projects

Better Jobs!

Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) 1994-2003

The WANTO program was designed to increase the participation of women in apprenticeships and nontraditional occupations (NTOs) by providing grants to community-based organizations (CBOs) for the delivery of technical assistance to employers and labor unions. These grants helped employers and labor unions to recruit, train, and retain women in apprenticeship and nontraditional occupations. Under a Department of Labor Inter-agency Agreement, WANTO was jointly administered by the Women's Bureau and the Employment and Training Administration, Office of Apprenticeship (OA). Funds for the technical assistance grants, which began in 1994, were authorized under the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) Act of 1992, Pub. L. 102-530, 29 USC § 2501, et seq.

Contact: Suzanne Burnette, Women's Bureau's National Office ( Washington, DC), (202) 693-6710; and/or Franchella Kendall, ETA's Office of Apprenticeship ( Washington, DC), (202) 693-3813).


Group E-Mentoring in Nursing (GEM-Nursing) was a multi-regional (I, II, III, IV, V, VII, and VIII) demonstration project of the Women's Bureau in partnership with the University of Michigan School of Nursing. This initiative was designed to increase awareness of the benefits of a career in nursing. A dynamic Web site, featuring valuable information on the nursing profession, educational programs, and links to financial aid resources, was a key component of the project. Also popular was an online mentoring component for young men and women aged 15 to 21 interested in considering nursing as a career. Volunteer nurse mentors from a variety of nursing fields provided guidance and support to young people by answering questions and sharing career experiences. A “How-to” manual is available on the GEM-Nursing Web site that provides guidance and helpful information to state and local organizations interested in starting a GEM-Nursing or similar program. Please visit the GEM-Nursing Web site at

Contact : Jacqueline Cooke, Region I ( Boston, MA), (617) 565-1988.

Women with Disabilities Entrepreneurship Project

Four regions (IV, VII, VIII, and IX) hosted this two-year project to train women with disabilities to become entrepreneurs. Participants were educated and guided through the steps necessary for success, including exploring viable options, developing a business plan, and securing funding to open their businesses. For additional information, please visit the Women’s Bureau Web site at

Contact : Cindy Henning, Region IV ( North Carolina), (828) 505-1547.

Girls E-Mentoring In Science, Engineering & Technology (GEM-SET)

In fiscal year 2002, the Women's Bureau created Girls’ E-Mentoring in Science, Engineering & Technology (GEM-SET), a multi-regional (II, IV, V, VI, IX) demonstration project that linked girls ages 13-18 with volunteer women mentors in the fields of science, engineering and technology via e-mail and a Web site to help increase the awareness of the economic benefits and the career options available in these fields. GEM-SET II expanded to cover all 10 regions in FY 2003 serving girls in 35 states. In FY 2004, the Women's Bureau focused GEM-SET III to serve girls of immigrant backgrounds who often have unique cultural and language needs and concerns that are markedly different from the general student population. The program served primarily Hispanic and Asian immigrant girls in Chicago, New York City, Houston, Miami, and Los Angeles. The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the co-sponsor and contractor of GEM-SET, is continuing this project with funding from the private sector. For more information about GEM-SET and its replication, please visit the GEM-SET Web site at:

Contact: Nancy Chen, Region V ( Chicago, IL), (312) 353-6985.

On-Line Learning Demonstration

The On-Line Learning Demonstration Project was a collaborative effort between the Women's Bureau, DOL's Employment and Training Administration, and the New Jersey Department of Labor. The program provided online learning for single mothers with school-aged children in five New Jersey counties. Through this demonstration project, the Women's Bureau examined the feasibility of participants earning computer certification or an Associates degree through online courses compared with traditional educational settings and methods. The offered courses were designed to prepare the participants for high skilled jobs in their local communities. For additional information, please visit the Women's Bureau's web site at:

Contact: Karen Furia, National Office ( Washington, DC), (202) 693-6710.

Employer-Driven Older Women Workers

The Bureau's Employer-Driven Older Worker Program, through Women’s Bureau regions V and VI, partnered with CVS Pharmacy to provide basic computer and life skills training to older Hispanic and Asian American women. Upon completion of the program, these women could apply for entry-level career ladder positions with CVS Pharmacy and other retail businesses.

Contact: Beverly Lyle, Region VI ( Dallas, TX), (972) 850-4700 and/or Nancy Chen, Region V ( Chicago, IL), (312) 353-6985.

The Ground Zero Initiative: Building a Pipeline of Women for the Skilled Trades in Metropolitan New York (Construction Trades Prep)

This program directly addressed the needs of the building trades by increasing both the number of female workers in the industry in New York City and the level of technical assistance Non-traditional Employment for Women (NEW) provided to unions and potential employers. NEW is a nonprofit organization that trains women for jobs in the building trades, the utilities and transportation industries, and facilities repair and maintenance. The program, sponsored by the Women’s Bureau, was designed to accommodate working women wanting to increase their earnings through participation in skilled apprenticeship programs by providing classes at night. This was an accelerated six-week program, which met three nights a week and Saturday. It provided extensive job readiness training, an introduction to the trades, a review of trades math, and a hands-on shop component.

Contact: Karen Furia, National Office ( Washington, DC), (202) 693-6710.

Better Earnings!

Las Mujeres y el Dinero (Women and Money)

This program consisted of a series of financial education conferences held across the country for Hispanic women who faced unique challenges regarding financial security. Las Mujeres y el Dinero (Women and Money) programs empowered Latinas to learn more about financial security and their role in planning for a strong financial future. Eleven separate financial literacy programs were held in 10 states across the nation. The kickoff event was held in Phoenix, Arizona on October 23, 2003. Visit the Las Mujeres y el Dinero Web site at: .

Contact : Jenny Erwin, Region IX ( San Francisco, CA), (415) 625-2640 and/or Suzanne Burnette, National Office ( Washington, DC), (202) 693-6710.

Women Managing Those Dollar$

The primary objective of this initiative was to assist women in overcoming personal financial management challenges and help them to complete plans of action that address their specific needs. Women’s Bureau Regions V, VII, IX, and X developed projects that addressed specific topics related to the Wi$e Up curriculum (see Wi$e Up under Current Projects).

Contact: Karen Furia, National Office ( Washington, DC), (202) 693-6710.

Current Projects

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