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Passport to Success – Supporting Women in Non-Traditional Careers

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February 23, 2004View for printing

Passport to Success is an innovative program whose goal is to support women in obtaining self-sufficiency though high-paying, nontraditional careers. The Passport to Success Project stemmed out of the Gearing Up Program of the local non-profit W.O.R.D. (Women's Opportunity Resource Development). Gearing Up was launched in 1990 as a nontraditional employment-training program serving low-income women.

The program’s goal has always been to help prepare women to gain employment in fields which earn a sustainable wage (over $10/hr.) In the early years of the program, Gearing Up provided its own training programs for participants.

In 2001 the Gearing UP program partnered with the College of Technology (COT) and began supporting women enrolled at the College in nontraditional Associates programs. “Non-traditional” is defined as any field in which women comprise less than 25% of the workforce.

The COT programs currently supported by Passport include Computer Networking and Information Systems, Diesel Mechanics, Welding, Building Maintenance Engineering, and Electronics. The Passport Program currently serves 20-30 women through outreach, educational support, career counseling, peer support groups, and the coordination of mentorships, job shadows and internships.

The job-related experiences the Passport program coordinates are a very important aspect of the program, as these experiences often help students clarify their career interests and gain the work experience needed to find employment after graduation. In addition these experiences can increase students’ self-confidence and provide them with additional motivation to obtain their educational and professional goals.

Passport is always looking to build bridges with individuals and businesses working in nontraditional fields. We look for individuals interested in serving as mentors to a student in their field and for businesses that would like to be job-shadow or internship sites. At this time, Passport is specifically searching for the following community partners:

• A mentor or job-shadow for a first-year Information Systems student

• A mentor for a Networking student in her last semester

• A 90 hour internship site for a Networking student in her final semester

• A job-shadow or summer internship for a first-year Electronics student

• A mentor or job-shadow for a second-year Welding student

If you or your business can meet any of these needs or would like to be considered for future collaborations, please contact Alysha Goheen, Passport to Success Coordinator at 880-9673 or by email at <> . Providing the opportunity for women to make a bright future for themselves in high-paying, nontraditional fields is an important step in improving the economy for all Montanans.

Reader Comments:

i love to congradulate women, because my husband is a truck driver and i'd love to be a diesel heavy truck mechanic, so i admire other women who are in different careers than other than the traditional ones..i love the idea and i think that it is absolutely wonderful that we (women) can do everything and so much more than what a man can do...

thank you....

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