SHIFT Photo with female welder and tagline 

SHIFT: Students Helping build an Inclusive Future for the Trades

The SHIFT Program at Bellingham Technical College originated in 2017 as a way to recruit, retain, and support women in non-traditional trade and engineering programs at Bellingham Technical College. The impetus for launching SHIFT was to address consistently low enrollments for women in non-traditional programs that resulted in BTC ranking low compared to other WA state career and technical colleges.

With an initial focus on women in male-dominated pathways, SHIFT now aims to increase access, visibility, and success for women, men, LGBTQ+, and non-binary folks enrolled in non-traditional programs at BTC.

SHIFT focuses mainly on programs where these groups have been historically underrepresented in their respective industries, specifically male dominated fields.

Jump to back to Sections List


SHIFT works closely with the BTC Diversity Office to develop and accomplish annual objectives that support the BTC Strategic Plan and Equity Statement. Outside of BTC, SHIFT has worked with and had representation at several state advocacy entities such as Washington Women in Trades, Women’s EmPower Leadership Conference, The Construction Center of Excellence, The NW Marine Center of Excellence, Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Employment for Women (ANEW), SBTCT Workforce Education Council (WEC), the North Puget Sound Carpenters Local 70 Sisters in the Brotherhood, and the regional chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).

SHIFT has been funded by a state grant for the last five years, which has thus far made possible several events, marketing campaigns and outreach activities. SHIFT’s largest outreach event, held winter of 2020, included BTC’s second public showing of The Sista in the Brotherhood film. The evening drew industry representation and scholarship donors, including BP, Shell Puget Sound Refinery, JH Kelly, Barron Heating, Matrix, and the Associated General Contractors of WA.

Through continuous outreach SHIFT has grown and saw the highest number of newly enrolled women in trade programs in Fall quarter of 2021.

One of SHIFT’s longstanding and popular events is the annual steel rose making workshop, stay tuned for this year’s event sometime winter or spring. This event is always open to the public!

Jump to back to Sections List


See Students Helping build an Inclusive Future for the Trades in Action

Jump to back to Sections List

Faculty & Support

Photo of Rachael Wright
Rachael Wright
Welding Technology

  • Degrees and Credentials
Jump to back to Sections List