University of Wisconsin–Madison
Photo banner with woman working onsite and #madisonwomenintrades


Madison women in trades pre-apprenticeship program

Application process is now open!

Become a plumber, or carpenter, or electrician, or operating engineer…

Explore career pathways within the building trades and build your skills, all while interacting with local tradeswomen, with this free pre-apprenticeship series.


UW-Madison School for Workers – in partnership with the Workforce Development of South Central Wisconsin and other community partners – is offering a free pre-apprenticeship program for women interested in exploring career pathways within the building trades industries. Participants can expect:

  • Hands-on training in various building trades
  • Career support
  • OSHA 10-hour course
  • Interactions with tradeswomen
  • Connections with local contractors and building trade unions
  • Limited opportunity for childcare support


The program is a series of 44 hours, held over four Thursday evenings and four Saturdays (all day) beginning in February 2019. Specific dates and times will be provided during the application process.


The pre-apprenticeship program is a hands-on experience, providing women the opportunity to build skills at various worksite locations that will be provided during the application process. All worksite and classroom experiences will be held in the Madison area.


The pre-apprenticeship program will be limited to 20 women who successfully complete the application process.


Women interested in the pre-apprenticeship program are asked to contact the program facilitator Heidi Wagner directly at or 608-262-2112 to begin the three-step application process.

The application process includes:

  1. Entrance interview
  2. Application exam
  3. Basic physical assessment


Program accessibility: The program is free, and has limited opportunity to provide childcare support.

Living wage: The average hourly wage of an entry-level construction worker is $18.20, and for an experienced construction worker $30-$40, depending on the trade.

Job security: The construction field is experiencing a labor shortage and is expected to have job opportunity growth into 2026.

Career support: The pre-apprenticeship program connects participants with current tradeswomen, future tradeswomen, local contractors, and building trade unions.

Application process is now open!

Program contact information

Information for community members

  • Campaign launch event
    We are excited to invite you to the launch of Madison Women In Trades on October 8, 2018 from 5 – 7pm at Madison College – Truax Campus.
    This campaign aims to encourage women to explore careers within the building trades. Join us at the launch to hear from a panel of tradeswomen and local employers on why it is important to hire women for trades positions.
    We’ll also share the marketing material used to promote the trades as an excellent career pathway for women and to recruit women into the Madison Women In Trades pre-apprenticeship series.
    We encourage you to forward this invitation to a tradeswomen who may be interested in learning more. Register by Monday, October 1 to reserve your seat.
  • Campaign launch press release

    Women In Trades Press Release

    MADISON, October 1, 2018 — A building construction trades pre-apprenticeship series geared toward women is now accepting applications for the spring 2019 cohort. Free of cost to 20 qualified women, the four-week, 44-hour series is designed to orient and place women in construction jobs.

    The pre-apprenticeship series will center content around opportunities available in the construction industry as well as create overt, coordinated efforts to recruit women into the trades, acknowledging that they can find excellent careers as cement masons, heavy equipment operators, sprinkler fitters and more…read more here.

  • Pre-apprenticeship news article
    Launching Madison Women in Trades Campaign

    According to the United States (U.S.) Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction sector of the economy is expected to grow through 2026. Yet, as stated by a 2017 article from the Associated General Contractors: “Seventy-percent of contractors have a hard time finding qualified craft workers to hire amid growing construction demand.” Wisconsin is experiencing its own labor shortages. With the construction economy showing growth and baby boomers retiring, there’s a need for new workers. Wisconsin Public Radio reports, “Builders face skilled labor shortage as new home construction rises” (April 17, 2017)…read more here.

  • Marketing materials

Thank you to our program supporter

and community partners…

  • Building Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin
  • Latino Academy of Workforce Development
  • Madison Area Technical College
  • Operation Fresh Start
  • Urban League of Greater Madison