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A Choice for Women Who ‘WANTT’ a Non-Traditional Career

In Oklahoma, fledgling non-profit helps women enter the construction industry through pre-apprenticeships

A Choice for Women Who ‘WANTT’ a Non-Traditional Career

In Oklahoma, fledgling non-profit helps women enter the construction industry through pre-apprenticeships

Published 03-13-24

Submitted by Enbridge Inc.

A group of people, in high-vis vests and hard-hats, posed in front of construction machinery.

While catching up over coffee, friends Laura Stauffer, a petroleum engineer, and Margot Heyne-Bell, a retired electrician, wondered what they could do to encourage women in Oklahoma to pursue construction trades.

Both had heard stories of women working minimum-wage jobs, struggling to support their families. They also knew the state has low rates of women working in construction. How could they show women all the opportunities a career in a non-traditional trade could provide?

As they sipped their beverages, Heyne-Bell reflected that she got her start 37 years ago through a pre-apprenticeship program, ANEW, based in Seattle.

The pair had their answer: they could launch a program just like the one Heyne-Bell attended decades earlier.

Within months of their 2021 meeting, Stauffer and Heyne-Bell founded Women Accessing Non-Traditional Trades (WANTT), a non-profit organization that delivers a pre-apprenticeship program to help prepare women for a career in the construction industry.

“We can open doors,” Stauffer explains. “We can help them find the type of job they want—it could be an electrician, it could be a plumber, it could be an HVAC contractor, it could be a laborer. It depends what they have interest in.”

What the organization does is create a path for women to upgrade their skills and education. They learn how to use hand and power tools and how to read a blueprint; they take classes on basic construction math; and earn certifications such as OSHA for occupational health and safety, and CPR first aid.

“We teach basic skills so that when they walk on a job site, they're comfortable being there,” Stauffer adds.

To date, the eight-week program has welcomed two cohorts, and they’re preparing for their third in 2024.

Although WANTT is in its infancy, Enbridge recognizes the organization is transforming the lives of women and their families, giving them opportunities they never thought possible.

WANTT’s mission aligns with our workforce diversity goals, as well as our company’s commitment to help empower individuals to reach their potential. To support WANTT’s important work, we awarded the non-profit a $15,000 Fueling Futures grant in 2023. By helping women find stable careers in the trades and earn liveable wages, WANTT is enriching the whole community.

Beyond the classroom, WANTT hosts a job fair for students to meet potential employers and assist them with the next phase of their apprenticeship.

“We recruit, we train, and then we help them get a job,” Stauffer notes.

Oklahoma is starting to see large numbers of workers aging out of construction, she explains.

“There's going to be jobs coming, and there's going to be a demand—why not fill them with women?”

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Enbridge Inc.

Enbridge Inc.

About Enbridge

At Enbridge, our name spells out our mission: a bridge to a sustainable energy future. That bridge safely connects millions of people around the world to the energy they rely on every day, fueling quality of life. Whether it’s natural gas, oil or renewable power, the energy we deliver through networks spanning North America and our growing European offshore wind portfolio helps to heat homes, feed families, fuel vehicles and power industry. We’re investing in modern energy infrastructure to sustain access to secure, affordable energy. We’re also building on two decades of experience in renewable energy to advance new low-carbon energy technologies including hydrogen, renewable natural gas and carbon capture and storage. We’re committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the energy we deliver, and to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Enbridge’s common shares trade under the symbol ENB on the Toronto (TSX) and New York (NYSE) stock exchanges. To learn more, visit us at

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