Program trains North Texas women for job skills in male-dominated careers

A program started in 2019 that trains women in job skills in male-dominated careers has increased since pandemic.

The initiative is preparing women for careers that previously didn’t seem like an option.

"This is critical and we're glad that our donors have supported a program such as this where we can take anybody who is interested and in four days be able to make sure they can get their professional industrial truck or PIT certification and OSHA certification and be ready to be hired for a job that pays somewhere between $1,400-$1,800," said Linda Johnson, Aspire.

The non-profit Aspire is partnering with On Target Logistics in Dallas, which started the ready to work program to help people retool their lives in a new profession -- and the focus is on women.

"There's not very many women in the industry and so we want to introduce the women to logistics and let them see how they can get into that field that industry and expand," said Lorene Smith.

Certification that would cost $1,500-$2,000 is free through Aspire.

"So I was like that will be a challenge, it'll be something different, so I was like, why not?" said Jamila Matthews.

She has worked warehouses, but not operating equipment. She says getting forklift certification will lift her earning power.

"This versus what I was making at first which is $11 an hour, which is not much at all, so the pay is a very big difference," Matthews said.

After graduation there's help finding employment.

"We spend actually the next three months following up with students making sure they have everything they need encouraging them to apply for positions and telling them about," Johnson said.

"It’s an awesome feeling to see the students that we work with get opportunity in employment and have the chance to earn a living wage," Smith said.

The classes are offered monthly.