SSMRC Sisters in the Brotherhood Committee prioritizing recruitment

Je Ann Will, communications coordinator for the SSMRC’s Sisters in the Brotherhood Committee, provided the following update.

Recruitment is a vital part of growing and strengthening the union, and the SSMRC Sisters in the Brotherhood Committee has made recruitment a top priority for its 2023-2024 goal cycle. Through collaborations with local business agents and training directors, several SIB members have been able to attend conferences and job fairs to reach out to young adults and working men and women. These events give committee members opportunities to share not only what a millwright is, but the benefits of being a union millwright. Read more about each event below.

KiPP College Prep Career Fair in Houston, Texas

Scott Jackson and Sarah Jones at the KiPP College Prep Career Fair

On March 3, SIB Committee Co-chair Sarah Jones and Houston Training Coordinator Scott Jackson visited KiPP College Prep Career Fair in Houston, where they spoke to approximately 45 9th-12th grade students. The school leader stated that the school wanted to introduce more career-based classes and that many students were interested in welding. Jones said several female students she spoke with did not know women could be millwrights and requested additional information. “There are so many different things [they] can do and have the opportunity to do, not just welding,” Jones said. “[They] took as much information as [they] could and walked away happy. Honestly, the majority of the girls that approached the table that had an interest in millwrights or carpenters left the table with a smile.”

Catalyst Conference in Mobile, Alabama

Jessica Cross at the Catalyst Conference

Catalyst: A Women in Industry Conference took place March 22-23. SIB Committee members Heather Pratt and Jessica Cross attended. Hosted by Manufacture Alabama, Catalyst aimed to address the most important and prevalent issues facing women working in manufacturing and industrial settings in the Gulf Coast region. “We didn’t exactly know what to expect when walking into the Catalyst because it wasn’t a typical UBC-affiliated event,” Pratt said. “We were greeted and immediately asked what we did for work because our name tags didn’t mention it. We proudly said [we are] union millwrights, and we were just happy to be there with the other 370 women in attendance.”

Savannah, Georgia, area events

Jessie Patterson speaks at Metter High School.

SIB Committee Chair Jessie Patterson attended several events in the Savannah, Georgia, area at the end of March. WREP (Work Readiness Enrichment Program) and Building Bridges High are programs that target at-risk youth ranging in age from 14-19. Patterson introduced these young people to union trades and explained what the union millwright and carpenter programs have to offer them as career paths. On March 28 and 29, Patterson spoke at Southeastern Technical College and its dual-enrollment program at Metter (Georgia) High School. These students are working on their certificates or diplomas in welding. Patterson spoke to various classes, explaining what our union can offer them. Woodville Thompkins Technical Career High School had a job fair on March 30. There, Patterson spoke to more than 40 students and community members about the options a union millwright or carpenter career can offer them. More than 10 people provided their contact information, including three women, one of whom has already started the process of joining the union.

Taking part in job fairs and speaking to students of all ages about careers in the trades are vital steps for recruitment and growth of the SSMRC. Attending these events gets word about the millwright career path into communities and showcases the benefits of being a union millwright.

–Je Ann Will