West Virginia Women Work, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit was founded in 2000 by Lisa Diehl, a long time advocate for women on issues related to nontraditional employment, economic self-sufficiency and poverty and from the beginning, Janis Gunel has served as the Executive Director. The organization strives to help women in West Virginia earn a living wage. The primary focus of the organization’s activities has been to help women explore, train and secure employment in nontraditional occupations, especially the skilled trades.
While the nonprofit’s headquarters is in Morgantown, there are presently three active training sites (Step-Up for Women) located in the state – North Central West Virginia (Morgantown), Huntington Area, and Kanawha Valley (Charleston). This program boasts an 80% job placement rate with new graduates earning a minimum of $3 more per hour than a traditional job.
In past years, our organization also served over 800 women in West Virginia with our career coaching service, computer literacy classes and public career exploration workshops.
Janis Gunel, Executive Director
Ms. Gunel has been actively involved in the development of training and counseling programs for displaced homemakers, single parents and women in transition since 1991. She has been Executive Director of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit, West Virginia Women Work since 2001 and has secured many grants over the past ten years to support the organization’s projects.
Presently the nonprofit boasts three skilled trades training sites (Step-Up for Women) in the state to prepare and place women in construction jobs. Past accomplishments include: holding nontraditional occupation-exploration conferences, and offering career advising counseling and computer literacy classes to the public free of charge.
Kristina Szczyrbak, Deputy Director
Kristina joined the West Virginia Work team in 2006, first as an AmeriCorps VISTA then as the North Central Step Up for Women Job Developer/Program Coordinator. As an AmeriCorps she worked directly with clients in the Career Coaching, Computer Literacy, and Adult Mentoring programs. During her time as Step Up Coordinator, she successfully graduated thirteen classes and worked with almost 200 training participants placing over 80% of them in nontraditional construction jobs. Kristina holds a WV Residential Contractor’s License and in 2010 was recognized as a Generation Next Award winner for her work with Step Up for Women and other local nonprofit organizations.
Melinda Perron, Job Developer / Program Coordinator, Huntington
Misty Mayville, Job Developer / Program Coordinator, Kanawha Valley
Misty Nicholas, Job Developer / Program Coordinator, North Central
- Board Chair: Millie Karlin, The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
- Board Treasurer: Jerri Walls, Assistant Vice President, United Bank
- Lisa Diehl, WVWW Founder
- Barbara Fleishauer, House of Delegates Member
- Jeremy Jeffers, State Director of Apprenticeship, United Brotherhood of Carpenters
- Meena Ahluwalia, Owner, Padgett Business Services
- Chele Varner, Community Office Manager, First United Bank & Trust
- Aaron Dickerson, Owner, ALD Enterprises