Event Empowers Disadvantaged Women to Reenter the Workforce

Baltimore, MD — On May 20, 2011, the Women in Associated Builders and Contractors (WABC), a committee of Associated Builders and Contractors Baltimore Chapter hosted their fourth annual

Women in ABC Career Empowerment Day at Catholic Charities’ My Sister’s Place. The six-hour workshop provided resources and training to twenty disadvantaged women who are enrolled in Catholic Charities’ Families That Work Program, a job-readiness program for temporary cash assistance recipients who are in their third trimester of pregnancy or who have given birth within the past six months.

Participants in the event were provided job interview training, workplace scenario workshops, resume writing skills, and an overview of careers in the construction industry. The event featured keynote speaker Carla Nelson, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development, as well as professional support and presentations from participating WABC committee members.

“The event not only provided training needed for a career, but also business attire donated as a result of our clothing drive earlier this month,” says Anita Sheckells, who is the event chair and a shareholder with KatzAbosch, a certified public accounting firm which helped donate some of the clothing. “Part of the event included a shopping spree in two rooms filled with business clothing and accessories for women. There was one woman in particular who commented that she had never owned her own jewelry until now, let alone business clothing.”

Sheckells, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional (CCIFP), has been the event chair for Career Empowerment Day for the past four years. As a member of WABC, her committee is particularly interested in grooming women for a career in construction, for which they offer the participants their own expertise.

“To have these professional women speak to our ladies is an awesome experience,” says Charleen Thomas-Christon, program manager of Families That Work. “The American Dream is the availability of jobs where one can earn a good living, have job security, and affordable healthcare for the family. This day provides information on a non-traditional career path for women that will enable them to realize the dream is attainable.”

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