Advocacy, Research, Training

Pink to Green Toolkit

The green economy holds a clear promise of creating energy-efficient, safe, healthy and sustainable communities, with an integrated approach to planning, designing, constructing and maintaining commercial and private buildings. Moreover, because the emerging green jobs draw on many of the skills currently called upon in the building and trades fields, this new economy holds the promise of new and high-potential career paths. This could mean significant new opportunities for women to access well-paid, career-track jobs that provide economic security, enable them to support themselves and their families and contribute directly to environmental quality.

However, many green jobs are considered nontraditional occupations for women. Women still represent less than 25 percent of the labor force and remain underrepresented in the major categories of jobs going green. This toolkit is designed to help training programs for green jobs break through patterns of occupational segregation.

The toolkit’s presentations, trainings, webinars, curriculum guides and modules, briefs, templates, tip sheets and planning documents are designed to:

      • Help workforce development providers assess their capacity for recruiting, assessing, placing, and retaining women in nontraditional occupations;
      • Assist training providers in developing relevant plans, processes, and curricula for recruiting and retaining women in green nontraditional occupations;
      • Provide guidelines for case management of women and matters related to the unique and wraparound and support services required for women to advance on a career path in nontraditional occupations; and
      • Assist training programs in understanding and linking to organized labor, apprenticeships, and major employers.

This toolkit is organized into five categories:

      • Outreach and Recruitment of Women 
      • Assessment and Case Management for Women 
      • Building Critical Skills of Job Readiness 
      • Gender- inclusive and Gender-focused Training Design to Facilitate Women’s Success in Building Trade Apprenticeships 
      • How to Identify, Address and Prevent Sexual Harassment 
      • Health and Safety Issues for Women in Construction 

These resources support the recruitment, training and retention of women in jobs in the green economy. This toolkit can be used by program planners, managers and frontline staff conducting outreach and assessment, training, case management and job development to ensure that each stage of the employment process—from recruitment through retention—looks at how the workplace environment can be responsive to women of many backgrounds and how systems can be created or improved to address the barriers women face. The materials can help build the capacity of organizations to attract women to programs providing education, training and support services targeted to women’s needs and to offer assistance that helps industry partners incorporate policies and practices supporting equity and diversity. The resources also can be used to build on and strengthen existing activities, customize strategies, establish new practices and policies, and deepen effectiveness at serving all participants in an equitable manner.

Ensuring that more women are aware of and supported in entering green jobs is critical not only to achieving economic equity for women and their families but also to building a competitive workforce. To open their training and green career pathways to women, programs must be attuned to and address a range of barriers women face to entering these fields—lack of awareness, sex stereotypes, limited training and work experience, perception of work, myths and stereotypes about women’s work, sex discrimination and institutional practices directed to men.

Section 1: Outreach and Recruitment of Women


Increasing women’s participation in a green job training program must be approached in a strategic and targeted manner, beginning with an outreach and recruitment process that speaks directly to women. This section offers tools to create a good outreach and recruitment plan, including goals and activities.


Use this quiz in an orientation or information session to prompt awareness about the need for women to have access to jobs in the traditionally higher-paid, male-dominated blue collar careers. The quiz can also be used to build the understanding and commitment of workforce development professionals for gender equity.

Accompanying the quiz is the Myths and Facts worksheet, designed to raise awareness about commonly misunderstood stereotypes.

This presentation introduces successful strategies to attract women to green jobs training programs and to inform them about the benefits of green jobs. The tool includes:

      • An overview of benefits, barriers, and myths for women in nontraditional green occupations;
      • Outreach and marketing to women: creating and delivering gender-targeted messages, including sample materials;
      • Conducting successful information and orientation sessions to attract/inform women; and
      • Additional resources from organizations focused on connecting women to nontraditional jobs.

Use this assessment to evaluate your current capacity, including the number of women you serve, recruitment and assessment practices and program goals.

Use this worksheet as a planning tool to create your own customized strategies and messages.

Use this tool to plan a short orientation or information session for a green jobs training program.

Use this tip sheet to plan a career fair. It includes steps and information on marketing, partner engagement, program and logistics. This tool walks you through the stages of planning the event.

It begins with ideas for recruiting attendees and engaging critical partners, including the workforce development system and employers, in developing or supporting the fair. Program recommendations for the event include an opening plenary and targeted workshops. The checklist also includes ideas for materials, booths and other career fair elements.

This worksheet is intended for individuals considering your training program or current participants. It allows them to determine how well matched they are to a career in the building trades.

Use this worksheet to create a blueprint and timeline for your program’s outreach and recruitment goals, activities and measurable outcomes. This tool includes two sample workplans.

Section 2: Assessment and Case Management 

Sometimes the choices of skills, processes, or criteria used in assessments for selecting green job training program participants have a negative impact on women. In addition, the impact of sex stereotypes and learned biases of program intake staff or the assessment teams may limit their ability to see women as competitive candidates for green jobs that are primarily dominated by men. Sometimes assessment questions and internalized stereotypes may lead women to screen themselves out of consideration.

Proper assessment is critical for evaluating clients’ core competencies for work readiness. It sets the stage for good case management by identifying at the outset what supportive services beyond the classroom each new client will require in order to enroll in, persist in, and complete a training program—and get and succeed in a new job. This section offers suggestions for reviewing assessment practices with a gender lens and ensuring that assessment helps to identify supportive service needs of clients.

The presentation offers gender-neutral and sensitive assessment techniques, as well as guidelines for case management. It covers three topics:

      • From a gender lens: selecting candidates likely to succeed;
      • Case management: supporting females clients from assessment to retention; and
      • Using self-sufficiency tools in assessment and case management.

Use this tool to identify questions and evaluation criteria that assess a candidate’s fit for your training program and case management needs. These sample questions apply a gender lens to assessment to go beyond stereotypes, identify transferable skills, and determine how to best serve incoming participants.

 Section 3: Building Critical Job Readiness Skills 

Both employers and the administrators of job training programs typically cite soft skills as more important than job-related skills in determining whether a person succeeds in a job. Ensure that your program builds participants’ work-readiness skills alongside vocational training. Gender inequity and gender differences create distinct job-readiness issues for women. Resources in this section offer suggestions for incorporating gender-related topics and a “gender lens” on work readiness into a training program.

This tool provides an overview of the critical topics in preparing program participants to be work ready. Several of these topics are particularly important to view through a gender lens.

Use this tool for envisioning and developing your organization’s approach to integrating work readiness and to identify challenges, capacity and community linkages.

Being a competitive candidate for the limited number of openings for a construction trade apprenticeship program may require more than meeting requirements, submitting a timely application and scoring well on an aptitude test. Being a confident, perceptive interviewee can be critical to getting admitted to a program and maintaining employment. This three-part module (including five hours of classroom training) provides materials and strategies to build the preparation, skills and self-confidence of participants in a training program, enabling them to ace an interview.

Section 4: Training Design to Facilitate Women’s Success in Building Trades Apprenticeships 

These materials are designed to guide trainers and program providers in developing and delivering job training specifically developed to support and prepare women to be competitive candidates and participants in skilled trade apprenticeships and jobs. The instructor training addresses why a curriculum focused on women and other underrepresented populations is necessary and how to ensure gender and racial inclusivity, sensitivity, and neutrality practices in teaching methods and program design.

These resources include modules that can be integrated into a general pre-apprenticeship training curriculum. The modules address topics that support the success of women and other underrepresented groups in construction industry apprenticeship programs.

This presentation introduces strategies for developing and delivering job training that targets women with the goal to provide job training that enables them to compete better in securing apprenticeships and employment in the building trades and other nontraditional fields.

The historical and social roots of the under-representation of women and minorities in the building trades create unique challenges to building a diverse construction workforce and equitable work sites. Supporting workers from under-utilized groups and ensuring a productive, cooperative workplace requires enhancing what is referred to as the “cultural competency” of all workers—that is, their skills in understanding and incorporating into their own lives the particular backgrounds of the diverse people with whom they work. This module addresses why diversity matters, equal employment opportunity and nondiscrimination rights in the workplace and classroom. It promotes traits for all workers to survive and thrive in the construction industry.

The training covers:

      • Creating an equitable work environment
      • Preventing and addressing discrimination
      • Promoting gender and race neutrality, sensitivity, and inclusivity in the apprenticeship program and on the jobsite
      • Balancing work and family

Section 5: How to Identify, Address and Prevent Sexual Harassment 

Sexual harassment—present in workplaces, apprenticeship training and union settings—continues to be a significant barrier to the integration of women into the construction industry. This module is designed to provide a thorough understanding of sexual harassment and ways to prevent and address it.

The training addresses:

      • The legal definition of sexual harassment and the evolution of laws pertaining to sexual harassment
      • Various forms and examples of sexual harassment
      • The role of employers, unions, and workers in preventing or addressing sexual harassment
      • Action steps to take in response to witnessing or experiencing sexual harassment

Section 6: Health and Safety Issues for Women in Construction 

In addition to the primary safety and health hazards faced by all construction workers, female construction workers face specific safety and health issues. A number of issues—ranging from restricted access to sanitary toilets, to poor on-the-job training, to protective clothing and equipment in the wrong sizes—adversely affect women’s ability to perform their jobs safely. Women also face safety and health concerns arising from working in a male-dominated workplace, where a macho culture often still prevails.

This module addresses the intersection of gender with safety and health. It provides examples of practices and policy to ensure that women have a safe and healthy work environment.

The module addresses:

      • The impact of gender on safety and health issues
      • The impact of safety and health on gender
      • What inpiduals can do to protect themselves and their coworkers
      • Equitable safety and health practices and policies in the workplace



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