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We are breaking down barriers.

For every dollar a man earns, a woman earns 75 cents. If she’s a woman of colour, she will earn 60 cents.

With the support of our stakeholders and community, we’re breaking down barriers to achieve women’s economic equality. We are dedicated to helping low-income, marginalized groups and individuals overcome barriers to employment.

Women in Skills Trades – Information Technology is a web design program for women.

It provides:

  • Employability training and preparation to write the CIW exam
  • Training for participants to develop their own website
  • Opportunities for peer supports and networking
  • Opportunities for obtaining Web Development Certificate
  • Opportunities for work placement
  • Assistance to participants in securing employment, self-employment or additional education opportunities

For more information contact Deborah Schwientek  at 905-522-9922 ext. 144 or

This project will address barriers in the secondary school systems in Hamilton to the representation of women in the trades and technology sectors. In collaboration with the local school boards, project staff will:

  • Conduct a gender based analysis of current practices and curricula to identify best practices for engaging young women in technical fields and skilled trades.
  • Develop an Implementation Plan and formal strategy focussing on engaging young women, educators and parents to address identified issues through the implementation of curricula changes and the development of teaching tools.
  • Utilize the strategy developed to guide an on-going review and assessment of the project.

For more information contact:

Kate Belair at 905-522-9922 ext. 337 or

The YWCA Resource Centre offers a variety of training sessions and opportunities for upgrading skills in the following areas:

  • Financial Literacy
  • Smart Serve
  • Safe Food Handlers
  • MS Office Training
  • Résumé Writing and Interview Preparation
  • Career Cruising
  • Job Search Workshops

Services include:

  • Access to Fax, Phone, Printer
  • Job Search information and resources
  • Job Leads and Business Directories
  • Individual assistance for résumé writing and interview coaching

For information and registration, contact 905-522-9922 ext. 144

SISTER (Success in Service Training and Employment & Retention) is a free employment program enabling young women to:

  • Develop and enhance their life and employability skills
  • Make successful transitions into the labour market
  • Overcome employment barriers

This program includes 4 weeks of paid training and 12 weeks of paid placement. Eligible participants must be between the age of 15 to 30 at the time of intake, legally entitled to work in Canada and Ontario, not in receipt of EI benefits and are in need of assistance to overcome employment barriers.

For more information contact:

Erzsebet Gatfalvi at 905-522-9922 ext. 147 or

Neekee Virani at 905-522-9922 ext. 175 or

YWCA Hamilton is now welcoming Participants and Employers to The Opportunities Program (T.O.P). This program assists persons with self-disclosed disabilities to prepare for, obtain, and maintain employment. It focuses on the needs of each person and seeks to develop skills to improve their employability through one-on-one and group coaching at YWCA Hamilton and work placement through workplace experience.

T.O.P. provides up to 10 weeks of one-on-one and group support for individuals who self-identify with a disability that restricts their ability to find and maintain employment.

A 14-week supported paid work experience placement is available for participants who are seeking full-time, long-term employment.

To be eligible for the program, you must be:

  • A person with a self-disclosed disability
  • Not eligible for EI benefits or related services / programs
  • Legally entitled to work in Ontario; A Canadian citizen, permanent resident or person who has been granted refugee status in Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
  • Anyone over the age of 16 is welcome to apply

Become a T.O.P. Employer:

  • Receive compensation for providing employment opportunities to people with disabilities.
  • Develop inclusive recruitment strategies to reduce turnover and build employee satisfaction.
  • Build a corporate culture; by building a business that is accessible and inclusive.
  • Work Assessments tailored to business needs.

T.O.P. Employees are trained in job-specific skills that can be tailored to employer requirements.

  • Soft skills include: Communication, Time Management, and Self-Esteem
  • Job-specific requirements include: Health & Safety, W.H.M.I.S., A.O.D.A.,  First Aid/CPR and  Financial Literacy
  • Smart Serve and Safe Food Handling

For more information on how to register your business as a T.O.P. employer or to register for the program, please contact:

Kathryn Wrong at 905-522-9922 ext. 318 or

Lisa Lehmann at 905-522-9922 ext. 179 or

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Program was created, thanks to the generosity of the Allen and Milli Gould Family Foundation.  This program assists women who want to establish and grow their businesses in Hamilton.  It is comprised of 10 weeks of in-class business training and 6 weeks of one-to-one support in preparation to launch their business.

Women will have access to a business coach who will provide:

  • Training in the basics of developing and establishing a small business
  • Guidance in developing a sound business plan
  • Support to access grants and other lending resources
  • Mentors to help them grow their businesses

For more information contact Deborah Schwientek at 905-522-9922 ext. 144 or

Microlending is a program to support women with limited incomes who want to start a small business. Services include:

  • Individual business coaching
  • Training in the basics of developing and establishing a small business
  • Guidance in developing a sound business plan
  • Pre-Assessment for loans
  • Assisting the women to obtain microloans from First Ontario Credit Union
  • Assisting women in building a positive credit history
  • Identifying mentors to help the women grow their businesses

For more information contact Deborah Schwientek at 905-522-9922 ext. 144 or

Pilot Project Funded by Ontario Trillium Foundation:

YWCA in collaboration with McMaster University and the City of Hamilton will test how a retired shipping container business model can be developed and potentially scaled up.  Focussing on one physical location and aligning with YWCA’s Social Enterprise and entrepreneurship programs for low income women, the pilot will:

  • Test feasibility of the model, gaining insight for the full implementation of a multiple site Business out of The Box program in Hamilton.
  • Provide increased economic opportunities for low income women to create affordable and sustainable small businesses

For more information contact:

Deborah Schwientek at 905-522-9922 ext. 144 or

Funded by the Hamilton Community Foundation’s ABACUS Initiative, the STEM Girls Club is an after school program that works with middle school-aged girls from low income and newcomer families to enhance their understanding and confidence in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The program provides a wide range of supports and opportunities to help young girls to succeed in school, to develop confidence, and to enhance their understanding and aspirations in the STEM field. Through twice-weekly programming, guest speakers and mentors, hands-on activities, and unique field trip experiences, the girls in the STEM Club are breaking down barriers and seeing new possibilities for themselves in the world.

This year we are recruiting up to 15 girls currently in Grade 8. The program is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 155 Queen St. North and is free to participate.

If you are interested in being part of this program as a participant, volunteer, guest speaker, or in hosting a fieldtrip, please contact:

Anjum Chauhan – Program Coordinator, STEM Girls at 905-522-9922 ext. 176 or

Find your future in the skilled trades! No experience necessary!

This no-cost program provides participants with technical training and job coaching to start their career in the manufacturing sector. Participants receive hands-on training at Mohawk College, employability skills training and an 8-week placement related to their field.


What do machinists do?

General Machinists produce parts by interpreting drawings, selecting the most appropriate raw materials and performing calculations.  They use a variety of machines and tools to cut shapes. They finish metal to make precision machined parts and components used in all areas of manufacturing.


General Machinists are also responsible for setting up and operating both conventional and numerically controlled metal-cutting machines and equipment, including saws, drills, grinders, lathes and mills.


Program Requirements:

  • Female, 18 years or older
  • Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident (legally able to work in Canada)
  • Able to provide proof of Grade 12, GED or equivalent
  • Available full time for the length of the 6-month program


Important Dates:

  • Pre-Employment Training at YWCA Hamilton – April to May
  • Technical and In-Shop Training at Mohawk College – May to August
  • Work Placements – August to October


Please contact Danielle Scott, Program Coordinator | | 905.522.9922 ext. 142


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