By SHERI GASSAWAY
For women considering a career in the trades and apprentices interested in learning new skills, volunteering at one of the Missouri Women in Trades (MOWIT) workdays at the St. Louis Workers Education Society (WES) can be a valuable experience.
MoWIT, a non-profit agency that provides tradeswomen with support group meetings, job information and referrals, recently moved into office space in the WES building at 2929 Jefferson Ave. It’s the first time in seven years the organization has had a physical location. As part of the agreement, MoWIT is assisting WES with some much-needed building repairs.
About 20 volunteers, including some with building trades experience and some without, recently spent a day grinding and smoothing down a brick wall in the building’s event hall, replacing tiles in restrooms and deep cleaning the kitchen.
Caitlyn Cowley O’Donnell, a Carpenters Local 97 apprentice and MoWIT member, said she enjoyed volunteering at the event because she was able to work alongside her tradeswomen sisters and learn from people who have been in the trades for many years.
“I cut and installed drywall for the first time, and the very next week I was asked to cut drywall at work,” Cowley O’Donnell said. “A lot of us got into the trades with no experience, so these workdays can give us a leg up when we’re job hunting and make us well rounded tradespeople, which is crucial to get work.”
Megan Seabaugh, a volunteer who helped to deep clean the kitchen, said the workday was a great opportunity for her to meet local union tradeswomen and learn about the construction trades.
“Watching them at work fixing up the walls in the conference room and the bathrooms and doing work on the outside of the building was inspiring,” Seabaugh said. “Missouri Women in Trades gave me resources to find more information about trade jobs and invited me to their next general meeting. I felt super welcomed.”
MoWIT workdays at WES are usually held the last Saturday of the month beginning at 8 a.m. at 2929 S. Jefferson Ave. in St. Louis. For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page or call 636-926-6948.