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Bridget Black | ANEW Trades Rotation Program
ANEW Apprentice
Bridget Black | ANEW Trades Rotation Program

Bridget Black’s mornings start at 6 a.m. every day with strength and endurance training. She’s the first to admit that her life has changed dramatically since she joined ANEW’s Trades Rotation Program (TRP).

For eight years, Bridget was a stay-at-home mom. Before that, she worked in an administrative role at a fishing company. The 12-week pre-apprentice training program will give Bridget the knowledge, professional mentorship, physical fitness and technical skills needed to join a trade apprenticeship upon graduating.

Starting a new career can be daunting, especially in a male-dominated field. But Black is determined to become an electrician and says the support from her classmates and the opportunity to earn a family wage in the trades has kept her motivated.

“The program has given me a lot of confidence. My kids, too, are proud of me and they talk about what I’m doing to their friends. It’s been good for my whole family and will help us in the long run,” she says.

Students in the program are exposed to 10–12 different trades, visit job sites where they interact with trades professionals, and earn OSHA-10, flagging, forklift and RISE Up certifications. Black’s cohort, which was supported by the Seattle Convention Center (recently renamed from the Washington State Convention Center) Addition through its partnership with Labor, graduated in April 2022. Black says the best part of the program is the community she found among her classmates. Each of them comes from different backgrounds and their common goal helps them motivate and inspire each other.

“We all push each other and encourage each other. I think I’ll always remember that,” she says. “I’m sad I won’t get to see them every day after we graduate, but I’m excited for the future and I can see that they are, too.”

Black worked hard to get to where she is today and is excited about the prospect of supporting herself and her family with her career. She recognizes not everyone has that opportunity and wishes more people knew about TRP and other opportunities to earn a family wage in the trades.

“If I would have known about this when I was younger, it would have put me on a better path to support myself financially,” Black says. “My husband and I don't come from anything. We don't have anything to give our kids, but this program and my new career will help give them stability and more possibilities down the road.”

Future electricians are required to have several years of training to earn a license, and Bridget says she’s excited to go back to school and learn. She enjoys math and science. Although she is starting from scratch, Black says she can’t wait to learn more and put her skills to use.

“When I was younger, I felt really closed in and boxed off,” she says. “I remember feeling really crappy that I didn't really want to go to college. But this I'm actually excited about. I get to pick what I want to do, like be an electrician!”


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