URGENT call for new women workers

By Ellen Cooke

“We are mothers, daughters, caregivers and more. Now we’re looking to add trade workers to our repertoire.”

Sabrina Milden with daughter Imani

Sabrina Milden was one of 21 women graduates from the National Grid co-sponsored URGENT: Women program. Another graduate, Vernishia Bogues, echoed the sentiments of others at the May 5 ceremony at Nassau Community College, saying, “The program left me intrigued and impressed. And I am convinced there is room and potential for us to grow in the utility field.”

URGENT stands for Utility Readiness for Gaining Employment for Non-Traditionals. And URGENT graduates are eager to start exploring career opportunities at our company and fellow program cosponsors like PSEG Long Island.*

Former New York American Water HR business partner George Rathbun helped create URGENT. He says the women’s 130 hours’ hands-on and classroom training “gives them skills they need and opens the door in a sector where there still aren’t that many women – utility field work.” This first class of graduates on Long Island come out of the program with OSHA certification. At National Grid, we also provide help with interviewing skills, and guidance on the job application and process.

Jizell Akhtab with her proud kids and mom

Says our Talent Acquisition’s Lissette Lugo, “Women bring flexibility, a healthy work/life balance, and great communication and collaboration skills to the workplace. Hiring women and other diverse talent also helps us build a diverse employee base that represents the communities we serve.”

Workforce Development Institute’s (WPI’s) Rosalie Drago commended us and other program sponsors, telling graduates “These employers are genuinely committed. They have high level people who worked their way up through the ranks, like you. These aren’t just jobs, they’re career opportunities.”

And Jesse (daughter of the Customer Group’s Ron Angst) says she’s excited to follow in her dad’s footsteps. “The program really opened my eyes to opportunities available at utilities and I’m excited to start my career.”

Our Ron Angst with daughter Jesse

*Other partners in the program include NY American Water; WDI; Hempstead Works; Oyster Bay, North Hempstead, Glen Cove Workforce Development Board; and Nassau County.

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