2023 Trades Fair!
Thanks to all who made this such a fun and inspiring day.
Seattle Center, Sponsors, Exhibitors, Volunteers, Teachers, Counselors!
You are THE BEST!
None of this happens without YOU!
2023 Exhibitor Ribbon Winners
1st - WW Sheet Metal JATC
2nd - Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
3rd - Seattle Area Pipe Trades
1st - Seattle City Light
2nd - Seattle Public Utilities
3rd - Seattle Parks & Recreation
Special: Machinists Institute
The 2024 Fair will be held in early May at Seattle Center. Registration will be available by mid-February 2024.
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General Fair Info
For the last 4 decades, Washington Women in Trades has created a place where over 1,000 people gather; some teach, some learn, some recruit, some apply for jobs, some are hired!
Looking for a career change? Plan to visit the 2023 Women in Trades Fair, a fun opportunity to learn about living wage/lucrative careers in the construction trades. You’ll find every craft imaginable, from carpentry to welding, electrical linework to elevator construction, ironwork to masonry, firefighting to meat cutting. It’s all here, both indoors and outdoors.
Exhibitors include apprenticeship programs, governmental agencies, colleges, vocational training and corporations.
Among many others, past participants have included King County, Vigor Industrial., Hammer & Hand, the Boeing Company, and the Seattle Fire Department. Training programs include apprenticeships with the Sprinkler Fitters, Carpenters, Laborers, Operating Engineers, Pipefitters and Electricians.
There were over 100 exhibitors in 2019.
Some of the exhibits are outdoors. There's the inimitable Seattle City Light climbing pole, Seattle DOT's shovel test and King County Facilities' build project.
Each provides a hands-on dynamic experience while learning about opportunities in the construction trades.
We encourage exhibitors to create interactive and enticing displays. Not only does it make learning more fun, it gives attendees an inside look at the craft.
Also, the most creative,innovative and interactive exhibitors win a "best of" ribbon at the end of the day.
Schools from all over the region attend. Middle & High School aged students are introduced to the high paying, spirit empowering positions in the skilled trades.
If your kid's school is not attending, take the day off, grab the kids and spend the day at the Fair! We find that young people in middle and high school age are great audiences. We've had people contact us years later telling us that they attended the fair as a young teenager and were so inspired they joined an apprenticeship and became a tradesperson!
Work Ready Women
Work ready women (and men) attend to explore options, too. Sometimes, a match is made on the spot.
The exhibitor walks away with a new enthusiastic hire and the woman walks away with a living wage job.
And everyone else who'd like to learn about living wage careers in the Pacific Northwest.
This is a FREE Event! There is NO admission fee for attendees
EVERYONE IS WELCOME.
Questions? Contact us here
2022 Exhibitor Ribbon Winners
1st Place: Whistle Workwear
2nd Place: IBEW Local 46
3rd Place: Cement Masons & Plasterers Local 528
1st Place: Seattle Fire Department
2nd Place: Western Washington Sheet Metal
3rd Place: Everett Fire Department
The Boeing Company
2019 Exhibitor Ribbon Winners
1st Place: Western Washington Sheet Metal
2nd Place: Seattle Area Pipe Fitters
3rd Place: The Boeing Company
1st Place: Vigor Industrial
2nd Place: Seattle Public Utilities
3rd Place: Seattle Parks & Recreation
Che Arsenault, the woman who inspired the 2019 Poster Concept
Some Fair History
44 years ago, a group of women newly working in skilled trades gathered together for support and comradery. Solidarity was important--they were a minority in the workplace and the issues of harassment, pay inequality, improperly fitting work clothing (PPE) and a variety of other frustrating obstacles were everyday occurrences. As the group evolved, they realized that one way to influence change was to encourage more women to venture into trades occupations. (safety in numbers...) That's when the fair was born.
The first Women in Trades Fair was held on Saturday, November 10, 1979 at the Seattle Labor Temple on First Avenue in downtown Seattle. It featured workshops with topics such as How to Enter the Trades, Overcoming Math Anxiety, Affirmative Action - Racism & Sexism on the Job, and How to Survive in the Trades. There were booths & demonstrations that showcased carpentry, electrical, firefighting, appliance repair, forklift driving and more. It was interpreted for the deaf and child care was provided. The event was produced by Mechanica & the University YWCA with support from, to name a few, the King County Women's Program, Operating Engineers Local 302, The Seattle Office of Women's Rights, the DOL Women's Bureau, National Electrical Contractor's Association and more. It was an ambitious undertaking and an inspiration to everyone who attended.
Over forty Trade Fairs have come and gone. Every current tradeswoman, at some time in her career, experiences the same struggles as did those women in 1978. The percentage of women working in skilled trades remains dismal and sometimes the glass ceiling seems to get thicker and thicker. But the modern tradeswoman pushes on like a dandelion growing through a sidewalk crack. One might wonder why we don't just throw up our hands and give up?
The answer is simple: We're Here To Work.