Build Together: Women of the Building Trades Partners with LeanIn.Org to Mentor Women in the Trades

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Build Together: Women of the Building Trades Partners with LeanIn.Org to Mentor Women in the Trades

November 7, 2019

NABTU, Build Together form partnership with LeanIn.Org

November 6, 2019

Women continue to make up less than five per cent of the construction workforce. Build Together: Women of the Building Trades has made significant strides over the years to develop resources and materials that address real issues women face in the construction sector, including the establishment of provincial Build Together Chapters. Utilizing this established network, Build Together, along with North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), have launched Lean In Circles for Union Tradeswomen a new partnership with LeanIn.Org to connect tradeswomen, help them learn new skills to navigate bias and advocates for themselves, for a piloted six-month program across Canada and in St. Louis, MO.

“More needs to be done to address the growing skilled trades shortage in Canada, and this includes implementing best practices around innovation and resources that are aimed at helping underrepresented groups obtain successful careers in our industry,” said Arlene Dunn, Director, Canada’s Building Trades Unions. “We are hopeful this unique partnership with LeanIn.Org and the opportunity to pilot it across Canada with our provincial Build Together Chapters will produce tangible outcomes that will help us achieve that goal”.

Today, the formal announcement of the partnership took place in St. Louis, MO, where the pilot program will also engage local tradeswomen there. Simultaneously, the pilot will run in existing Build Together Chapters across Canada including in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

“We believe something special happens when women come together to support each other, especially in the workplace,” said Rachel Thomas co-founder and CEO of LeanIn.Org. “Our research shows how challenging it is to be the only woman on a team, much less on a job site. We hope Lean In Circles for Union Tradeswomen become a place where women encourage each other, get and advice, and build solidarity.”

LeanIn.Org, an initiative of the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, has been an important voice in raising awareness of bias and advancing women in workplaces through rigorous and thoughtful research and encouraging companies to take action. Now, LeanIn.Org is expanding to support women who work in the trades. The foundation worked with a diverse group of subject matter experts, NABTU leaders, and women in the building trades to develop content that is specifically designed for women in the trades. The content is built by tradeswomen for tradeswomen.

“This pilot will formalize what we have been doing informally for so long through Build Together: mentoring, supporting, providing advice,” said Lindsay Amundsen, Director, Workforce Development, Canada’s Building Trades Unions. “Our Build Together Chapters across the country will have the opportunity to utilize this research-based curriculum and provide feedback to enhance and make any necessary changes to ensure this program works for the tradeswomen and apprentices it was intended for.”

Over the next six months, Build Together Chapter members who have already undergone facilitator training, will deliver training modules to the other Chapter members and women of the building trades and provide ongoing feedback to the LeanIn.Org team to make changes, as necessary to increase the effectiveness of the program and evaluate its potential. To learn more about the partnership and get involved, contact:


You can also find this message posted on the Canadian Building Trades Unions website here:


About Build Together and CBTU

Canada’s Building Trades Unions is an alliance of 15 international unions in the construction, maintenance and fabrication industries that collectively represent over half a million skilled trades workers in Canada. Each year, our unions and our signatory contractor partners invest over $500 million in private sector money to fund and operate over 175 apprenticeship training and education facilities across Canada that produce the safest, most highly trained and productive skilled craft workers found anywhere in the world. Canada’s Building Trades Unions represent members who work in more than 60 different trades and occupations, and generate 14 per cent of Canada’s GDP. Build Together is a workforce development initiative under the CBTU that includes women,
Indigenous Peoples, new Canadians and youth.

About LeanIn.Org

An initiative of the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, LeanIn.Org works to help women achieve their ambitions and create a more equal world. LeanIn.Org offers inspiration and support through an online community, free education materials, and Lean In Circles, small groups of peers who meet regularly to learn and grow together. The Lean In community includes more than two million women and men and 44,000 Lean In Circles in 172 countries. The Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, which also runs OptionB.Org, is a private operating nonprofit  organization under IRS section 501(c)(3).