About Us

Taskforce Leadership


In 2011, tradeswomen, allies, and advocates came together to form a coalition of organizations and individual members called the National Taskforce on Tradeswomen’s Issues to address the lack of access, opportunity, and equity in the construction industry, and other non-traditional occupations.  National women's organizations, Legal Momentum and Wider Opportunities for Women have co-chaired the coalition since its inception in 2011 through 2014 when Legal Rights Advocates replaced Legal Momentum as co-chair. Chicago Women in Trades replaced Wider Opportunities for Women as co-chair in 2015. Please check back for more on the history of women in the trades which will be available in 2016 or visit the Tradeswomen Archives project.


The National Taskforce on Tradeswomen’s Issues mission is to unite local, regional and national expertise and action to support tradeswomen and women in achieving access, opportunity, and equity in the construction industry, and other nontraditional occupations.  The National Taskforce on Tradeswomen Issues does this through promoting a federal public policy platform and advocacy initiatives which includes efforts at the national level to improve, enforce, fund, and promote best practices in apprenticeship, training, workforce development, career tech,  nontraditional employment and job site equity.

Key Taskforce Actions and Successes

Since its inception, the Taskforce has succeeded in organizing and building collaborations and raising the issue of equal opportunity in construction on a national level.

  • 2011: Taskforce meetings with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) resulted in the hiring of a staff member who specifically oversees changes to the OFCCP mega site initiative, field investigator training and changes in the way tradeswomen and non-profits can lodge complaints.
  • 2012:  After funding for the Women in Apprenticeship and Non-Traditional Occupations (WANTO) Act was cut, Taskforce members and tradeswomen met with the Department of Labor and the White House Council on Women and Girls.  Not only did we succeed in getting WANTO funding restored, but the new two-year Solicitation for Grant Proposals (SGA) focused on collaboration and technical assistance.  Taskforce members won all three technical assistance grants awarded.
    2013: The Taskforce held a national roundtable on apprenticeship at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Washington D.C. attended by tradeswomen, Building Trades representatives, U.S. Department of Labor Representatives as well as representatives from National Civil Rights and Workforce Development Organizations.  The Office of Apprenticeship then asked the Taskforce to repeat the panel for the Secretary of Labor’s Advisory Council on Apprenticeship.
  • 2014:  The Taskforce, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO began their collaboration for Equal Opportunity in Construction with a letter to the Secretary of Labor which had strong repercussions throughout Washington DC.
  • 2015:  The Taskforce hosted the first ACTION CLINIC at the Women Building the Nation conference which provided training in grassroots advocacy for tradeswomen. The Taskforce advocated for the release of U.S. Department of Labor Equal Employment Opportunity / Affirmative Action apprenticeship regulations to be revised and released for public comment.  Provided recommendations to improve Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 3 Local Hire policies to increase access for women.  Provided recommendations to strengthen sex discrimination regulations in the U.S. Department of Labor compliance.
  • 2016:  The Taskforce won another victory in ensuring that WANTO (Women in Apprenticeship and Non-traditional Occupations) was refunded by Congress to continue to support equity, access, and opportunity for women in high-skilled, high-wage blue collar jobs!  Through our grassroots advocacy and education, the Taskforce promoted strong and comprehensive recommendations to update the Equal Employment Opportunity regulations in Registered Apprenticeship, many of which the U.S. DOL incorporated in their final updates.

TWTF Steering Committee Members

  • Connie Ashbrook, Retired, Co-Chair
  • Lauren Sugerman, Chicago Women in Trades, Co-Chair and Policy Committee Co-Chair
  • Jessica Stender, Equal Rights Advocates, Policy Committee Co-Chair
  • Emma Brennan, Oregon Tradeswomen, Tradeswomen Action Committee Co-Chair
  • LJ Dolin, Elevator Constructor, Local 131, Tradeswomen Action Committee Co-Chair
  • Shana Peschek, Director, Construction Center of Excellence, Communications Committee Co-Chair
  • Danae Pouliot, Transportation Wireman, IBEW Local 11, Communications Committee Co-Chair

Join us! Our coalition is always looking to grow and engage more tradeswomen, allies, advocate, and industry partners!  To learn more, email us at [email protected] or sign up for our newsletter! Consider joining one of our working committees below:

The TWTF Monthly Membership Meeting is held the third Monday of every other month at 6:00 PM Eastern.  To join the TWTF, please email us at [email protected] and we will send you the conference call information.   If you are interested in volunteering for one of the active work committees below, please email us at [email protected] or contact one of the co-chairs as listed below.

TWTF Policy Committee meets monthly via conference call.  To join the committee, please contact Co-chairs Jessica Stender at [email protected] or Lauren Sugerman at [email protected].

TWTF Communications Committee meets the 1st Tuesday of the month at 7:30 PM Eastern / 4:30 PM Pacific via conference call. To join the committee, please contact Co-Chair Danae POULIOT at [email protected].

TWTF Tradeswomen Action Committee meets monthly via conference call.  To join the committee, please contact Co-chairs Emma Brennan at [email protected] or LJ Dolin at [email protected].

Taskforce Members & Partners

The National Taskforce on Tradeswomen’s Issues is a coalition of tradeswomen organizations, tradeswomen, and industry partners that strive to achieve access, opportunity, and equity for women in blue-collar careers.