Experience in building trades strengthens East Bay women’s confidence

(Photo: Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Felicia Harper says all she needed was a chance to do something positive. When a six-week construction training program landed in her lap, it led to union membership, employment and a new outlook on life.

“I heard about it from a friend that participated. She thought it would be good for me; she didn’t (have to sell it),” said Harper, 32, of Oakland. “She knew I was having a really hard time. I was looking for something, just to escape, so I was all for it. I thought it was something positive.”

That something positive was Rising Sun Center for Opportunity, an Oakland nonprofit focused on economic equity and climate resilience that connects interested people into training and placement in the construction industry. As part of Rising Sun’s Opportunity Build initiative, a yearly program called Women Building The Bay brings in candidates and provides skills, tools and support to get hired.

Harper says Rising Sun “changed my life.”

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