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Leah Rambo: President of NEW Nonprofit in New York

Leah Rambo: President of NEW Nonprofit in New York

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Leah Rambo has been named the President of Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW]. The pioneering nonprofit prepares, trains, and places women in careers in the skilled construction, utility, and maintenance trades, helping women build meaningful careers, achieve economic independence and a secure future for themselves and their families. NEW also provides a pipeline of qualified workers to industries that build, move, power, green, and maintain New York.
Leah most recently served as the Deputy Director of the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau. She got her start as an apprentice in the Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 28 in New York City, where she was named the inaugural female Director of Training in 2011 and was the first woman to hold a position on the Union’s Executive Board. She is the first woman of color and tradeswoman to serve as president of NEW.
NEW was founded in 1978 and has since increased the number of women participating in trade careers from two percent to seven percent. The organization runs two flagship programs out of its Manhattan (Chelsea) and Brooklyn (Industry City) locations, preparing about 350 women annually to work as carpenters, electricians, ironworkers, laborers, plumbers, and operating engineers, and more. Graduates earn starting hourly wages of over $19/hour and typically receive comprehensive benefits through their employer.
“This role presents an opportunity for me to advance my commitment to drive gender diversity and equality in the construction trades. It is an honor to be named president of NEW, an organization I have long admired for its leadership and network of opportunity for women. I’m looking forward to furthering the organization’s legacy in partnership with staff, the Board of Directors, unions and other workforce development leaders,” said Leah Rambo.
“Leah comes to NEW with an outstanding track record of fostering equity and inclusion within the construction workforce. Leah’s energy and dedication has played a pivotal role in attracting and retaining an expanding number of women in unionized skilled trades. Her experience, expertise, and passion position her as an ideal leader to guide NEW into a future marked by progress and inclusivity and we are excited to have her on board,” said Maureen Henegan and Steve Sommer, co-chairs of the NEW Board of Directors.
Leah’s interest in the building trades dates to her adolescence, when, at the age of 10, she asked for a tool set, rather than a doll, for a present. She attended high school at Brooklyn Tech and then launched a 35-year career in the labor movement. In addition to her role at the Women’s Bureau and several roles at Local 28, she also served on the Sheet Metal Air Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) International’s Women’s Committee, Recruitment and Retention Council, and was an instructor for the International Training Institute, where she trained sheet metal instructors from across the country. She is also a certified OSHA Outreach Instructor. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Labor Education from the National Labor College.
About Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) 
NEW is a nonprofit organization that prepares, trains, and places women in careers in the skilled construction, utility, and maintenance trades. For over 40 years, NEW has increased the number of women represented in trade careers in New York City and helped women achieve economic independence. For more information, visit


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