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Mikhail Stewart | ANEW Trades Rotation Program
ANEW Apprentice
Mikhail Stewart | ANEW Trades Rotation Program

No matter where you are in life, it’s never too late to start “anew.” That’s what Mikhail Stewart learned when she stumbled upon a post about the ANEW Trades Rotation Program (TRP). Stewart reached out to ANEW after feeling unfulfilled in her job in healthcare administration. Since joining the program, she feels her life is on a better path.

ANEW’s Trades Rotation Program is a 12-week pre-apprenticeship course, complete with hands-on trainings to teach participants the technical trade skills needed to join an apprenticeship in the construction industry. Throughout the program, cohort members like Mikhail receive classroom education, professional mentorship, and fitness training to prepare them for their new careers.

Stewart is interested in becoming an electrician. Before joining the TRP, she knew shifting into a completely new career would be challenging. She never expected to be welcomed with such support and camaraderie.

“Being around a group of women who are super strong and believe in you more than you believe in yourself makes you feel good. I feel like, ‘I can do this. I can really do this,’” she says.

Stewart says programs like the TRP break down barriers to accessing living-wage careers for those in historically under-represented groups. The TRP lays a foundation for success and builds confidence in each student by teaching them skills across different trades and supporting their professional development.

While many people consider a bachelor’s degree from a four-year university the only option to enter a lucrative career, Stewart and the other students in the TRP hope to disrupt that way of thinking and encourage others to consider joining the trades.

“It would be really important for high school students to know that this is an option—a very well-paying option. You can have a career that pays well without going into debt. I think that's what we need in our communities, the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty,” Stewart says.

Stewart wants women and others who are under-represented in the construction trades to know they deserve a seat at the table.

“When you empower other people, you empower your community. As soon as you start breaking down those barriers and more people can get to work, we're going to build things we never dreamt of building. We can reach new heights,” she says.

Stewart’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. She will look back on her experience fondly and with confidence moving forward. She says she could not have participated in the program without the sponsor’s funding.

“What they're giving us is not just monetary. It's changing people's lives,” she says. “They're investing in us, and I want to give them a ‘thank you.’”


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