By SHERI GASSAWAY
For the first time in seven years, Missouri Women in Trades (MoWIT) has a physical location thanks to a three-year agreement with the St. Louis Workers’ Education Society (WES).
MoWIT is setting up shop at the WES headquarters building located at 2929 S. Jefferson Ave. in south St. Louis City, where the group will have access to several of the common areas, including conference rooms, a garage and a gated parking lot. In addition to monthly rent payments for the office space, MoWIT will be assisting the WES with some much-needed building repairs.
“We’re super excited about the arrangement,” said MoWIT President Beth Barton. “We’ll be able to hold our monthly meetings here as well as our tradeswomen survival skills and Girl Scout badge workshops. There are so many great opportunities, and WES’ goals closely align with our own.”
Founded in 2008, MoWIT is dedicated to expanding opportunities for women to enter and succeed in apprenticeships and careers in the building and construction trades in the St. Louis area. The non-profit group is committed to building a diverse workforce, a strong Labor Movement, safe and healthy worksites and women’s empowerment and economic security.
WES educates and trains St. Louis residents – especially people of color, women and youth – to become community leaders. Its focus is on the intersection of workers’ rights, racial justice, sexual and gender-minority rights and disabilities empowerment. It also facilitates on-going worker education campaigns to build a permanent culture of worker education in St. Louis.
“We see our agreement withMoWIT as more of an organizational relationship as opposed to a rental,” said Tony Pecinovsky, WES president. “Having them onsite will help fulfill our mission of identifying and recruiting women, and MoWIT will be able to mentor them. It’s a mutually beneficial partnership.”
BUILDING IN NEED OF REPAIRS
The WES building was constructed in 1913 as 10,000 square-foot community center. It later served as the union hall for Operating Engineers Local 148. WES purchased the property from Local 148 in August 2014.
The building has had a long and useful life, Pecinovsky said, but is in need of several major repairs.
Several unions have helped WES with different projects, but much more work remains to be done.
“We have a number of projects that will require the skilled trades,” Pecinovsky said. “It’s nothing that needs to happen tomorrow, but we definitely need some updates.”
DONATIONS WELCOME, SPACE FOR RENT
If you would like to contribute to WES, visit its website at workerseducationsociety.org and click the “Donate” button.
If you are interested in renting office space or conference rooms for meetings or special events, call (314) 242-5477 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.