Bridging North America (BNA), the private-sector partner working to construct the Gordie Howe International Bridge project, has been honoured with an award from Women’s Enterprise Skills Training (WEST) of Windsor.
BNA is one of the recipients of WEST’s Journey Towards Success Award which recognizes steadfast supporters of the organization within Windsor and Essex County. The award was presented virtually during the Women’s Day Gala on March 8, 2022.
The partnership with WEST is an initiative stemming from the Workforce Development and Participation Strategy, one of two components of the project Community Benefits Plan. The Workforce Development and Participation Strategy is geared toward engaging businesses and providing employment opportunities. It centres on workforce, training and pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship opportunities.
“Under our Workforce Development and Participation Strategy, we’ve built relationships with local partners committed to career pathways in the skilled trades,” says Nicole Flippance, BNA’s Communications and Community Benefits Manager. “As WEST actively recruits and engages women interested in entering the construction industry, they are naturally a key partner for us. The Gordie Howe International Bridge project team is committed to building an inclusive culture that supports diversity and equality amongst its employees. We are proud of the many women who are working on the project on both sides of the border.”
BNA hired three women from WEST’s Introduction to Construction and Craft Trades for Women (ICCTW) program. It is offered in partnership with the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA 625) and facilitates the entry of women without prior experience or knowledge to the construction, craft worker and cement finisher trades.
One such woman is Dayna Eidukas-Mooney. After working as a military reservist, Eidukas-Mooney was looking for a new career path and enrolled in WEST’s program.
She completed a math skills test and a virtual interview and was accepted into WEST’s eight-week pre-apprenticeship program. Eidukas-Mooney spent four weeks getting hands-on experience at the LiUNA 625 training centre in Windsor. She spent another four weeks on skills development, resume building and tours of construction sites including the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.
“The tour was a great opportunity to watch different people on the job,” says Eidukas-Mooney. “We were also able to talk with trades people, from electricians to iron workers. That experience allowed us to ask important questions and it really offered a glimpse into a career in trades.”“The cables pull the footings together, so they work as one and handle the tower loads and eventually the road deck,” adds Raji.
Eidukas-Mooney is currently working on the Canadian Port of Entry (POE) for the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. She supports the sub-contractors in the construction of buildings and structures at the POE as well as working with the environmental team that is responsible for the protection of species at risk.
“Bridging North America has been supportive of our new careers and made us feel welcome in a male dominated industry,” adds Eidukas-Mooney.
She encourages other women to take the chance if they are thinking about a career in construction.
“The experience we gained through WEST’s program with LiUNA allowed us to get a foot in the door and develop new skills,” adds Eidukas-Mooney. “You have nothing to lose and new experiences and self-confidence to gain.”
Eidukas-Mooney is now preparing to begin a two-month apprenticeship training program, hoping to focus her trades career path.
You can learn more about the ICCTW program on WEST’s website.
You can also learn about the different jobs available on the Gordie Howe International Bridge project in Canada and the United States by visiting the Opportunities page on the project website.