Chicago to host inspirational, nationwide tradeswomen conference

Women Build Nations 2015
WOMEN BUILD NATIONS: This year’s Women Build Nations Conference will be held April 29 through May 1 in centrally located Chicago. It’s the first time in the event’s history it will be held outside of California. – Chicago Women in Trades photo

By Sheri Gassaway


Great news for St. Louis-area tradeswomen who have always been interested in attending a Women Build Nations Conference, but couldn’t make the trip to California! This year’s event will be held in Chicago.

The sixth annual conference, co-sponsored by the North American Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and Chicago Women in the Trades, will be held April 29 to May 1 at the Crowne Plaza O’Hare Hotel and Conference Center in Rosemont, Ill. It’s the first time in the event’s history that it will be held outside California.

Beth Barton, president of Missouri Women in Trades and a member of Carpenters Union Local 1596, has attended four of the last five conferences. She said she learns something new at each event and that it’s a great way to stay up-to-date on emerging trends.

“I’m thrilled that this year’s conference will be so close to home,” Barton said. “It’s a very pro-union event that offers an amazing variety of workshops and the opportunity to network with some of the most influential women around.”


The conference is for women of all ages and skill levels who work, or aspire to work, in the construction trades. It brings together women from multiple construction crafts to build leadership skills, learn strategies for overcoming challenges and unite around common issues.

The event offers workshops and sessions facilitated by tradeswomen and featuring union leaders, apprenticeship coordinators, contractors and politicians. Some of the workshop will include topics such as: New to the trades; Building your union and leadership skills; Staying strong in the trades; Policy issues and politics; and Beyond the tools.

The registration fee for the conference is $100 per person if received by Feb. 29. It includes two continental breakfasts, one lunch and two receptions. The fee is $115 per person if received by April 4 and $150 per person after that date. Members of NABTU affiliated building trades unions will receive a $15 discount per person.


A separate event called the Institute for Recruiting and Retaining Women in the Trades will kick off the conference at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 29. Pre-apprenticeship training providers, employers, registered apprenticeship program coordinators, workforce practitioners, and other industry stakeholders will be able to network and learn from a variety of successful program models. The additional fee for this separate event, which includes lunch, is $75 per person if received by April 22. After that date, the cost is $100 per person.


Chicago Women in Trades also will be hosting several pre- and post-conference activities, including: an open house at Chicago Women in Trades on Thursday, April 28; a Chicago labor history tour on Friday, April 29; and a rally and march as part of Chicago Labor’s May Day demonstrations on Sunday, May 1.

To register for the 2016 Women Build Nations Conference or for more information, visit or call 312-942-1444.



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