Local project gives back to the community, promoting women in trades

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Union Sisters of Central Illinois teamed up with Rebuilding Together to help people stay in their homes longer and bring awareness to women in construction.

In the first-ever “She Build” project, 18 women trade workers volunteered their Saturday morning on Sept. 25 to fix up a home on McClure Avenue in Peoria for free.

Jennifer Frank, a heating and frost insulator and She Build’s team leader, said they’re all bringing their skills together to give back to the community.

“The idea of the project is to come in and help people that can’t get up on a ladder, who can’t use their hands like they used to, or don’t have the skills or the money,” Frank said.

Frank said the group is also showing people that women can, and do, work these jobs.

“We wanted to bring a little awareness by doing some community work, by saying hey, you might have the chance to do something like this,” Frank said. “This might be something you can do.”

Keesha West, a volunteer and an operator and engineer for Local Union 649, said working together with other women in this career field is rewarding.

“You volunteer out of good heart, good nature, and when you see the end result you’re like wow, we did this,” West said.

West said the group is also a supportive sisterhood.

“Coming out here with each other, we can, you know, get moral support, talk about what’s going on on the job…something that’s not fair,” West said. ‘We can get advice and use that advice.”

Frank encourages any women interested in learning more about the group to reach out to their Facebook page.

To learn more about trades and apprenticeships, visit Illinois Construction Job’s website.

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