Ruby grew up in Boulder Colorado and has been around carpentry most of her life. Her Dad is a finish carpenter, but until recently, she never thought about it as an option for herself.
Ruby moved to Portland in 2010 for college – taking a year to establish residency. After more than 7 years in and out of college and working full time, being poor, broke, and stressed out, Ruby came to a turning point.
She was working in the lumber department of Home Depot, the first woman to work there, and struggling to juggle the demands of a full time job and going to school full time and studying. One afternoon, a customer noticed Ruby’s hard work and hustle. The customer said, “Hey, you work really hard and we need people like you in the trades. My union sponsors this organization, Oregon Tradeswomen. You should check them out.”
Ruby looked into our programs and the timing was perfect. After applying and getting accepted into Oregon Tradeswomen’s Summer 2018 Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class (TACC), she was laid off from her job in the lumber yard, but pursued our training program anyway. “It was an incredible struggle at that time. I lost my health insurance, and my ability to access needed care and medication. I was in a dysfunctional housing situation, too. It was a really huge milestone for me to graduate. My whole family was there at graduation which was really meaningful for me, and the whole experience has truly been life changing.”
Wanting to go into the Ironworkers apprenticeship, Ruby put in her application and went to work at Vigor as a temporary employee. It wasn’t long before she heard back from the Ironworkers. She was accepted, went through orientation and started out as a rod buster. “It was the most incredibly difficult work I have ever done or will ever do.”
Ruby wasn’t sure this was a good fit for her, but she isn’t the type to just show up and quit, so she kept doing the hard work “More than 9 months into my apprenticeship, I was either carrying a heavy load on one shoulder or stooped over tying rod all day. When I realized this wasn’t going to be a long term fit for me, and that I needed a change, I started exploring residential carpentry.”
After doing some research, Ruby submitted a few applications with local companies, and in a couple of months, she got an offer. This was a turning point for Ruby in her career path. She was hired on by Green Gables Design and Restoration as a laborer two years ago. “I took a pay cut, but it was okay, because I knew it was the place I wanted to be. My first week with the company, I thought they were playing trick on me because the people were so nice, respectful, and easy to work with. The culture was relaxed, friendly, and positive.” The teamwork oriented crew helped her feel excited to learn.
And learning is one of the things Ruby loves most about her career. “I love that I am constantly being asked by the work to use my brain and my body in creative ways. There is always something to learn, something new, even if I’m digging a hole, there some unexpected thing I learn. I also appreciate that this is viewed as an asset by the people I’m working with.”
When we asked Ruby to share something that would surprise us, she shared, “I am very business when I get to work, and in layers and rain gear, we all look the same. People are probably surprised when I take my gloves off. I like to paint my nails – I’m femme.”
When asked to reflect back on her time in the class, Ruby said:
“I have nothing but positive things to say about my experience! Oregon Tradeswomen allowed me to get out of the ‘poverty track’ – the jobs available to me where I could just barely scrape by. Graduating from OTW got me out of that cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. But it wasn’t easy! It was a hard class. OTW is not kidding around. It’s a serious program. But it paid off. It’s a stepping stone or a gateway to a different level of prosperity!”
Tracy Weber: On A Path to Financial Stability and a Secure Future
Tracy graduated from Oregon Tradeswomen’s (OTW) apprenticeship readiness class in March 2020 – the first full class in our brand-new building and workshop before COVID shifted our in-person gatherings.
Since completing OTW’s class, Tracy had another baby and recently started her Carpentry Apprenticeship. We are so happy for Tracy in these next steps in pursuing a career in a trade she had always been interested in but just didn’t know how to get started. OTW is happy to be part of her success story and will be here for future support, training, and connections.
Tracy recently shared her personal story of working in customer service, becoming a mother, and wanting to provide a more stable future for her family at Worksystems’ EOP program presentation at Prosper Portland‘s Board meeting. We invite you to watch it and hear directly from Tracy how she went from working a dead end job, and smoking pot all the time, and not caring about the future, to getting serious to get the training and support needed to pursue a career as a Carpenter.
Oregon Tradeswomen is grateful to our community of supporters and donors who make it possible for strong women like Tracy to get the information, training, and support they need to build strong lives, families, and communities.
Given the significant demand for diverse, skilled, and qualified construction workers in the area to meet industry labor demands, Oregon Tradeswomen piloted our apprenticeship – readiness-training program, Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class (TACC) in Redmond, Oregon in September 2019. The pilot training was made possible by generous support from our union trades partners who provided critical support to make the class in Redmond a reality. From holding mock interviews, to providing hands-on instruction, to hosting graduation at UA Local 290 – our industry partners were involved to ensure the pilot was successful. Oregon Tradeswomen is grateful for their commitment to helping women gain access to great careers with good wages so they can support themselves and their families!
With financial support from North America’s Building Trades Unions in Washington, D.C. and local support from Robert Camarillo, Executive Secretary of the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council, Oregon Tradeswomen was able to work with regional industry and community partners in Central Oregon. In turn, our partners in Central Oregon were critical in helping to recruit jobseekers and connect to local employers: Heather Fitch and East Cascades Workforce Board, Wendell Jim at the Warm Springs Tribal Employment Resource Office, Rena Gibney of the Oregon Department of Human Services Self-Sufficiency Programs and Joe Mizzolo of WorkSource Redmond and our many friends at Central Oregon Community College for all of their support as well.
Thanks to our industry partners for lending their time, talent and support to this project:
- UA Local 290
- NECA IBEW Electrical Training Center and IBEW Local 48
- NECA IBEW Central Training Center and IBEW Local 280
- Oregon Laborers Apprenticeship & Training
- Cement Masons Apprenticeship Local 555
- Ironworkers Apprenticeship Local 29
- Roofers Apprenticeship Local 49
- Pacific Northwest Carpenters Training Institute
- IUOE Local 701 Apprenticeship
- Oregon Bricklayers and Allied Crafts
Oregon Tradeswomen also extends immense gratitude to our friend Dave Burger of UA Local 290. Dave went above and beyond to ensure this pilot training in Redmond was successful. He arrived early, stayed late, and offered tremendous support to our team as well as to jobseekers. Dave connected program participants to one another for transportation, support, helped refer women to the program, cooked food for program participants and staff, and demonstrated what an industry partner committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion looks like. Oregon Tradeswomen is eternally grateful.
Fifteen program participants completed the apprenticeship readiness training program and received a pre-apprenticeship training certificate from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, demonstrating their competencies and achievement in being prepared for registered apprenticeship and employment in the skilled trades. Oregon Tradeswomen was honored to host Oregon’s Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle as our keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony. Commissioner Hoyle’s service to the great state of Oregon, and her commitment to equity and justice, made us proud to have her speak to the graduates and their families.
Congratulations to the TACC program graduates – we wish them all well on their journey forward!
- Wanda Berry
- Eva Brewer
- Kayla Burns
- Claudia (Paloma) Castro
- Laura (K.K) Crowe
- Audreanna (Audrey) De La Rosa
- Lianna Erwert
- Peggy Gilbert
- Susan Guerin
- Camille Hernandez
- Lara Martinez
- Damaris Monroy
- Kelli Moody
- Susan Mulkey
- Ryleigh Shiner
- Amelia Templeton
Since the introduction of the Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP) concept, there has been concern in the field about creating another form of apprenticeship including oversight, alignment, equity components, and guidance on how employers implement anti-harassment and discrimination requirements as well as other issues such as portability, and industry standards. The DOL’s proposed rule would formally include IRAPs in the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR Part 29) that govern the RA system under the National Apprenticeship Act of 1937.
Additionally, the rule aims to establish a process to authorize third-party “Standards Recognition Entities (SREs)” that would recognize IRAPs. The proposed rule describes what entities may become SREs; what their responsibilities and requirements would be; hallmarks of the high-quality apprenticeship programs they would recognize; and how the administrator of the Office of Apprenticeship would interact with them. The rule also describes how IRAPs would operate in parallel with the RA system.
This proposed rule change is an important moment that will affect the future of apprenticeship and access, opportunity and equity in apprenticeship – please take time to respond to public comment in sharing your knowledge and expertise during this comment period.
The deadline to submit comments is August 26, 2019! Please make your voice heard!
No one said it was easy being a tradeswoman and a mom, but being a tradeswoman can give you the financial security to provide for your family. Trillium Ward began her journey into the skilled trades as a single mother of two, working as a drug and alcohol counselor for kids and young adults. Her job as a counselor was challenging work that only paid $12.50 an hour, hardly enough to support a family of three. Public assistance was helpful, but this was not the life Trillium imagined for herself. She had always loved working with her hands and took wood-shop, metal-shop, and other vocational programs her high school offered which focused on hands-on learning. With these experiences, the skilled trades started to look quite appealing as a new career option.
Trillium first applied to become an electrical apprentice with the IBEW, but didn’t score high enough on the application process to enter the program. After hearing about Oregon Tradeswomen around the community, she decided to enroll in the pre-apprenticeship program, the Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class (TACC). She knew that going through this program would be like receiving an endorsement of her qualifications and ability to succeed in the field. She was accepted to a special session of TACC that ran at night, which allowed her to continue working full time to support her family. If that wasn’t enough to demonstrate her commitment, she was also simultaneously taking a welding class on weekends!
After all her hard work in Oregon Tradeswomen’s pre-apprenticeship program, Trillium graduated from TACC, re-applied to the IBEW’s apprenticeship program, and was accepted! As an apprentice, she immediately made $3 more per hour than she did as a drug and alcohol counselor. Being a single mother at the time, it was imperative to have a support network of family and other moms to help out with childcare because a typical day for Trillium started at 4:00 am! Thankfully, just 6 months into her apprenticeship, Trillium made enough money to get off of state assistance and afford daycare. Her advice to mothers thinking about pursuing a career in the trades is to “make sure you have reliable daycare that can accommodate early mornings and the ability to be flexible with your schedule!”
Just 5 years after starting on this new path, Trillium journeyed out of the Electrical apprenticeship! This is an incredibly proud accomplishment for her, because she managed to meet all of the strict program requirements around attendance and grades, all while having a new baby with her partner. Trillium is currently working for Oregon Electric Group where she runs bus ducts, installs conduits, pulls wire, creates panels, and installs lights among – other things. Trillium loves how her work keeps her brain engaged – whether she is learning new technology, new skills, or being put in different situations requiring adaptation and problem-solving. The hardest part about her job is the lack of continuity. When the people you work with, your start time, and your commute change regularly, its hard to plan for the future.
The biggest barrier Trillium faces as a woman in the trades is not outright harassment, but that compared to the men on her crews, she is not taken seriously. As a result, she has to to above and beyond to prove herself on every job-site – otherwise the men frequently assume that she isn’t competent. This becomes exhausting when you’re changing job-sites regularly – having to prove your worth with a new crew each time. Trillium’s advice for other tradeswomen is to help support other women. Solidarity is important in this field, so when you see other women, reach out, because the isolation can be hard.
In the end, the hard work pays off. Trillium says, “The amount of change in my financial status, going from poverty and living paycheck to paycheck, to financial freedom where I can buy a home and go on vacation has made a world of difference in my life and my children’s lives.”
In 2018, Mary Ann Naylor, Oregon Tradeswomen’s Communications and Marketing Director, was approached directly by Linda Sellheim of LinkedIn Learning, also known as Lynda.com, a massive online learning resource for professional development. Linda was interested in creating a video series for LinkedIn Learning exploring careers in the construction trades, what working those jobs entails, and dispelling myths about the trades along the way. Most importantly, she was looking for a tradeswoman to be the face and voice leading the series!
After a productive meeting with Oregon Tradeswomen’s Development and Communications team, we directed Linda to the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center (NIETC) and our friend Bridget Quinn, who works as their Workforce Development Coordinator. We knew Bridget would be a prime candidate to lead a series on construction fundamentals. Not only is Bridget a Journey-level tradeswoman, but her role at the NIETC revolves around working with prospective apprentice-applicants to provide them with resources and guidance needed to successfully access union apprenticeship. Bridget is also a huge ally for Oregon Tradeswomen when we hold our Annual Career Fair at the Electrical Training Center and is a recipient of the Daily Journal of Commerce’s Women of Vision Award in 2017!
We are pleased to share links to the LinkedIn Learning track featuring Bridget Quinn. Videos are live on LinkedIn Learning and we encourage you to preview this incredible resource we hope will help many understand and access the world of the construction trades!
Would you like to learn about the possibilities a career as an electrician offers? The NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center is hosting four “Wire a Light” workshops for women who have an interest in the electrical trades. During this free workshop, you can learn how to wire a light, meet women electricians in the industry, and find out how to start your career as an electrician.
Dates & Registration:
September 19, 2019
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Register for the 9/19 workshop
December 5, 2019
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Register for the 12/5 workshop
NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center
16021 NE Airport Way
NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center is accessible via TriMet bus lines 74 and 87.
On Thursday, November 15, Women in Apprenticeship Day, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Vice Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, celebrated National Apprenticeship Week and Women in Apprenticeship Day by advocating for more investments in apprenticeships and work-based learning programs.
“Efforts to get our economy back on track have benefited some, but far too many working families are still struggling to make ends meet,” Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici said on the House floor. “As we recognize National Apprenticeship Week and Women in Apprenticeship Day, we must commit to strengthening apprenticeships and work-based learning programs.
“The PARTNERS Act and funding for the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act are two pieces of the greater need to invest in apprenticeships and other paid, on-the-job training programs. Investing in these programs will help more people access better paying, stable careers, and provide our nation’s businesses with a workforce that will improve productivity and efficiency.”
Bonamici is a champion in Congress for apprenticeships and work-based learning programs. The first bill signing Bonamici attended was for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) when it passed Congress in 2014. Additionally, she has been a leader in efforts to increase funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations grants.
In 2017, she introduced the bipartisan PARTNERS Act to boost apprenticeships and work-based learning programs. The PARTNERS Act would establish a grant program to support the creation and expansion of industry partnerships to help small and medium sized businesses develop work-based learning programs and provide support services for workers.
Oregon Tradeswomen extends our deepest gratitude to Congresswoman Bonamici for her support of apprenticeship, and calling for stronger investments in paid, on-the-job training programs to allow more people to attain living-wage careers with benefits, and providing a pipeline of skilled workers to industries strongly in need of building their workforce.
On September 28, 2018, Oregon Tradeswomen is hosting our 2nd annual Build With Us! Blue Collar Gala and this year we will be announcing the winners of the 2018 Woman on the Rise awards! These awards were conceived last year as a part of Women in Apprenticeship Day to honor exceptional women in the industry and we wanted to celebrate their accomplishments this year with a larger audience. Here are the 20 women who were nominated by their unions, employers, and peers as Women on the Rise:
Journeyman Laborer, LiUNA Local 737
Aida Aranda started her journey as a laborer with LiUNALocal 737. She proved herself on the field as a journeyman laborer and then worked her way up into management. Aida has worked as a Dispatcher, Apprenticeship Coordinator, Organizer, and is currently the Director of the Oregon Laborers Apprenticeship and Training Program. She has proved herself to be a natural leader and a mentor to all.
Laborer Apprentice, LiUNA Local 737
Gabrielle Cowan is a go-getter Laborer with Liuna Local 737. Still an apprentice, Gabi is giving the men on the crew at Mortenson a run for their money. She is already a skilled concrete hand and leaves a trail of workers behind her questioning their own abilities when working alongside her. She does her job well, with passion and precision, putting her far ahead of her peers.
Journeyman Inside Wireman, IBEW Local 48
Sara Currie is an Inside Wireman with Local 48 who has worked her way up to Safety Director at the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center. Her motivation and commitment to the industry has gained her the respect of her peers as well as the NIETC Health and Safety community.
Sheet Metal Workers, Local 16
Kerri Danay is a Sheet Metal apprentice with Local 16. Kerri was nominated by her peers at McKinstry Co who said that, as a new apprentice, Kerri showed great potential. As she progressed through her apprenticeship, this potential was proven to be more than true. Kerri is a smart, hard working individual and has gotten positive feedback from every foreman she has teamed up with who note that she learns quickly, works safely, is highly productive and is always equipped with a good attitude!
Line Worker Apprentice, IBEW Local 387
Aisley Deymonaz was nominated by a Crew Foreman from Arizona Public Service Electric Company (APS) who met Aisley when she was just a pre-apprentice. Aisley’s dedication, integrity, and great attitude immediately stood out to her foreman and he recognized her as #1 out of the 700 young adults who try to get an apprenticeship with APS. She excels at everything she attempts and was the only woman on the 2017 APS Lineman’s Rodeo team where she got 1st place in the hurt man rescue. Her passion was apparent early on to the Brotherhood and they uncharacteristically welcomed her with open arms. Aisley is someone who has earned the respect of a trade that is suspicious of outsiders and broke the mold of what it takes to be a Line Worker.
Journey-level Plumber, Area 1
Danielle Elowe’s apprenticeship program is grateful to have her as she is always willing to help promote the program by putting on workshops and helping with speed mentoring which has helped draw more women to the plumbing trade. Her employer, Weekend Plumber, even gets regular calls from clients who have nothing but wonderful things to say about their experiences working with Danielle!
Apprentice, Sheet Metal Workers, Local 16
Jinnie Freeman was nominated by her union, Local 16, who describe her as an instrumental and integral part of the union. She puts her heart into anything she does and is a top tier student. Jinnie holds the position as co-chair for their new Minority and Women’s Committee where she organizes and runs meetings as well as always offers help and resources for members in hardship. She even volunteers with Oregon Tradeswomen to support the women who are on their way to starting a career in the skilled trades. Local 16 knows she has a bright future within the union and the industry!
Flagger and Business Owner
Sandra Holguin started her own company, IQ Traffic Services, after disappointment with the lacking of quality employees at a flagging company. She is dedicated to provide a safe work environment for her employees and made sure they had steady employment, housing assistance, and even offered financial assistance. Her big heart and boldness have lent a hand in her success as an entrepreneur!
Ann Lawson began her work at Lovett Deconstruction in the field as a crew member. After 9 months, Ann had the opportunity to move up and into the office as an Estimator. In her new role, Ann went above and beyond and quickly took charge of organizing lead meetings, strengthening office culture, insisting on protocols and processes that improve transparency, communication and career mobility within the company. Her dedication to making Lovett a forerunner as an equitable place for women in the trades has been a hallmark of her management. Now as a Project Manager, Ann continually strives to bring a positive, solution-oriented, and team-centered perspective to her work. She contributes exponentially to both the functionality of the business and the quality of its culture, using her brilliant observation, incisive questions, ability to analyze information and situations, and daily joy.
Journey-level Laborer, LiUNA Local 737
Irene Mcguire’s work at Anderson is recognized because no matter the task, Irene will make it happen. Her excellent work ethic and drive for success has left an impression on everyone who has worked with her.
Powerline Clearance Tree Trimmer Apprentice, Local 125
Local 125 details that Saylor Neher is an outstanding apprentice and is ahead of the pack in skill and maturity. Saylor repeatedly overcomes obstacles with tenacity and has won over her peers with her winning attitude and solid work ethic. Recently, Saylor proved herself with her impressive results in the PNW Lineman’s Rodeo including an awesome 55′ foot-locking demonstration!
Painters Apprentice, IUPAT Local 10
Andrea Presler is said to excel at everything she does and seems to have a natural talent making everything look easy. Leadership comes as second nature to her which goes hand in hand with her deep caring for others. Not only does she already have all her certifications, but she has performed on such a high level that the company she works for pays her at a level that only journeyman make!
Elizabeth “Tissi” Snelson
Carpenter Instructor, Carpenters Local 1503
Elizabeth “Tissi” Snelson is very involved in her union and since its inception, Tissi has organized the 1503 Pride float. Now, Tissi works at Angel Job Corps as a UBC Carpenter Program Instructor and is excelling in her field!
Journey-level Laborer, LiUNA Local 737
Jani Turner is a journey-level Laborer at Anderson Structures. Her peers at Liuna Local 737 nominated her as a Woman on the Rise because she is a skilled worker, a leader by example, and a caring teammate. She prioritizes her women’s group, Liuna Women @ Work, and is often used as an example of someone who has found great success in the trades. As someone with a difficult past, Jani uses her own experiences to relate to others and speaks up on behalf of those who haven’t yet found their own voice. She passes on her knowledge by going out of her way to teach, help, and lead others around her.
Journey-level Drywall Finisher, IUPAT Local 10
Stephanie Vasquez is a journey-level Drywall Finisher with Local 10 who recently graduated from the Drywall Finishing Apprenticeship. She is said to be an outstanding journey-woman at Cascade Acoustics and actively promotes and recruits women for the Drywall program. Only three years in, Stephanie has already found her stride as a drywall finisher.
Jess Giannettino Villatoro
Political Director, Oregon AFL-CIO
Jess Giannettino Villatoro worked her way up the AFL-CIO because of her passion for workers rights. She exemplifies leadership and is an advocate and ally for all in the construction community. Jess’s persistence in fighting for fair wages, equal opportunities, and protection for families has led to her success.
Journeyman Plumber, Area 1
Erin West’s apprenticeship program is grateful for her help in recruiting women for their program. Erin’s employer, Meticulous Plumbing, says that she is excelling in her field and overcomes prejudices of past generations. She continually receives positive feedback and it is clear that she is extremely proud to be a plumber. In her heart, she is setting the path for today’s young women to succeed in the trades.
Journey-level Operating Engineer, IUOE Local 701
Even though she comes across as reserved, Melinda is a highly driven woman that goes for what she wants until she achieves it, no matter how long it takes. Local 701 deeply values Melinda’s work within the union as she is dedicated to doing outreach to other women who are curious about a career in the trades.
Journey-level Electrician and Solar Installer
Sondra Winters is a Journey-level Electrician and Solar Installer with the Energy Trust of Oregon. She is a licensed journeyman in Oregon and Washington as well as holds a State of Alaska Electrical Certificate of Fitness. Being able to work in multiple states makes her a great asset to her employer as well as her attention to detail and leadership in whatever crew she is working with. She regularly gets rave reviews from customers for going above and beyond. Sondra also is an active member of her community, organizing rafting trips, hikes, and volunteering with Girls Build.
Journey-level Roofer, Roofers Local 49
Suzanne’s union, Local 49, nominated her because everyone from her apprenticeship peers to her instructors enjoyed her presence in the program. She grew to become an excellent mentor to others and even takes time off from work to do outreach in the community for new female apprentices. Her work is decorated as she graduated among the top of her class and took 1st place in the 2017 West Coast Roofers Apprenticeship Competition. The International Union Office is even flying her back to Washington DC to do an article on her for her progress and help in recruiting for a more diverse workforce!
Often times it is the son who follows in his father’s footsteps to a career in the trades, but the Belisle family is a bit different. Rod Belisle is the Executive Director at the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center in Portland, Oregon and it is his daughter Melanie who has found success in the trades as an electrician.
Rod’s story began in high school when he worked for his father who was a general contractor. After Rod graduated, he continued to work for his father, operating heavy machinery. It was on a job, excavating for an electrical company that belonged to his father’s friend, when his interest in becoming an electrician was ‘sparked’. Both Rod’s father and his father’s friend encouraged him to pursue a career as an electrician. The rest is history: Rod has worked at the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center for 19 years!
Rod’s daughter Melanie initially had no interest in doing what her father did until her mother encouraged her to visit Oregon Tradeswomen’s annual Career Fair. There, Melanie had the chance to speak with the now retired Executive Director of Oregon Tradeswomen, Connie Ashbrook, who talked Melanie into entering Oregon Tradeswomen’s Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class (TACC). Melanie was initially drawn to the sprinkler-fitter trade, but as TACC progressed, she found a new interest in the electrical trade.
Melanie’s plan to become an electrician actually surprised Rod, but he supported her decision 100%. To make sure she was serious about her career choice, Rod encouraged Melanie to work as a material handler as she awaited placement into the apprenticeship program. Because of her father’s high ranking in the organization, he made it clear that he would have to be completely separate from her at work to maintain professionalism and avoid any conflicts of interest.
In the five years Melanie has been part of IBEW Local 48, she has earned her own level of respect. She is now a journeyman wireman. She has had a good experience as a woman in the industry and was given her the chance to prove herself on her own merit.
Melanie values her connection with her father and likes having someone close to her who she can talk about work with and who understands what its like to be an electrician. Melanie also thinks its exciting to be following in her father’s footsteps all while breaking stereotypes of sons being the only ones to join their fathers in the trades.
Rod has always been aware of the need for more women in the trades and having Melanie pursue a career as an electrician just enhanced his dedication to supporting women to succeed in this male-dominated industry. His vision for the future of women in the industry is the expectation that any woman could apply for an apprenticeship and be treated exactly the same as any man. He would also like to see a social climate where it is not a surprising thing to see women working on a construction site. He also hopes the same for men who are interested in careers traditionally labeled as “women’s jobs”, such as nursing.
Melanie hopes to see more women in the trades, too, not only on the job site, but as supervisors, managers, inspectors, and other leadership positions. It is important to have all aspects of the industry reflecting the idea that women are fully competent and that trades careers are not just for men.
Rod is incredibly proud of Melanie for her hard work in establishing herself as an electrician and is glad that she chose to pursue it as a career. Her hard work and perseverance is apparent and Rod knows that his daughter has the right stuff to live her dream. He looks forward to the day when Melanie achieves her goal of becoming a foreman.
Rod sets a phenomenal example of how to be an ally and how to support a young woman to succeed in apprenticeship and a thrive in a career in the trades.
We wish Rod and all the other fathers a very Happy Fathers Day!