Keen Utility pledges $1M to empower next gen tradeswomen
June 1, 2023 | 12:08 pm CDT

PORTLAND, Ore. — Keen Utility, a producer of safety footwear and the work boot division of Keen Inc., has announced the six recipients of its 2023 She Builds Grant Program.

Launched by Keen Utility in 2021, the She Builds Grant Program was created 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 tradeskills education and support for the next generation of tradeswomen.

This year, six She Builds grants will be awarded to Black Women Build-Baltimore, British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Trades Discovery for Women, Girl’s Garage, Grid Alternative’s Women in Solar Program, Oregon Tradeswomen, and Vermont Works for Women. These grants will help provide hundreds of thousands of hours in quality tradeskills 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,” said Kevin Oberle, Senior Director of Global Insights & Engagement at Keen Utility. “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 is passionate about stepping up when it comes to welcoming 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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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).