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Renewable energy and construction tend to be male-dominated fields. But an organization in Vermont is helping change that.

The nonprofit Vermont Works for Women is currently running a free seven-week training that teaches women and gender-nonconforming people the basics of clean energy and green construction.

“When we have classes that are limited to women and gender-expansive individuals, they are much more comfortable asking questions,” says program manager Missy Mackin. “It’s a very safe space for them to be in, and it really is super empowering for them.”

Mackin says participants in the Green Trailblazers program get hands-on training and work together on a small solar installation. Then they each intern with a local clean energy or green construction company.

“Employers are very much looking for new folks to come into the trades,” she says. “They are ready to accept a more diverse workforce. Many, many of the people working in the construction trades are retiring. And of course, renewable energy is just growing.”

So she says she hopes the training gives participants the skills and confidence to pursue careers in these fields.

Read: How much do energy industry jobs pay? A look at the data

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media