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B.C. tech institute women’s program gets helping hand from KEEN Utility

Safety footwear company's grant helps promote women in skilled trades

June 5, 2023  By Turf & Rec

The British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Trades Discovery for Women is among the recipients of KEEN Utility’s 2023 She Builds grant program.

The She Builds grant program was created in 2021 to help advance the empowerment of more women entering the skilled trades. Between 2021 and 2026, the program has pledged $1 million in product and financial support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and Canada that are leading the way to provide trade skills education and support for the next generation of tradeswomen.

The British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Trades Discovery for Women allows participants extensive access to the available trades and technical training at its B.C. campuses. Students gain hands-on experience in about 15 different trades disciplines. Five U.S.-based programs were the other recipients of KEEN’s She Build’s grant program.

These grants will help provide hundreds of thousands of hours in quality trade skills education, expansion of workplace inclusivity training, and KEEN Utility’s women’s specific safety footwear. Recipients were selected by KEEN Utility and its fans.


“Women are a vital part of the skilled trades,” Kevin Oberle, senior director of global insights and engagement at KEEN Utility, said. “Through the She Builds grant program, we are able to better support a number of forward-thinking organizations dedicated to the empowerment of women in the trades. A career in the trades can be incredibly rewarding and, as a company, KEEN Utility is proud to help build a future where women are provided more support and offered more inclusivity in industries critical to our way of life.”

The She Builds grant program is funded through the KEEN Effect program, a give-back initiative whose larger mission includes making the outside and the trades accessible to all. The KEEN Effect program was founded in 2005, and the brand has committed millions of dollars toward social and environmental justice since its inception.


KEEN Utility welcomes more women into the trades. A leader in women’s safety footwear, KEEN Utility’s tradeswomen tested collection of footwear leverages the feedback of working tradeswomen in a variety of professions from initial conception all the way to hitting the store shelf. By creating footwear designed for and inspired by tradeswomen, the brand is helping ensure the future of the trades is diverse and safe for all.


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