It began with Rosie the Riveter, stated Senator Karen Mayne, as she introduced a number of women on the Senate floor who have chosen nontraditional occupations as a way to meet the challenge of supporting themselves and their families. Rosie (We Can Do It!) is a cultural icon representing American women who worked in manufacturing plants during World War II. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs, replacing the male workers who were serving in the military.
Senator Mayne introduced Katie Leslie, who chose the Sheet Metal program at Ogden-Weber Tech College because there was a waiting list for Cosmetology. She flew through the program, and with her hands-on experience, entered the apprenticeship program with the layout sheet metal fitting skills of a journeyman. Katie landed a job with Mechanical Service & Systems, Inc., where she has worked for six years.
Isabell Navarro was devastated when her job at La-Z-Boy would no longer exist. She scoured through dozens of college materials, and the Heavy Equipment Operator Program at Bridgerland ATC struck an exciting chord with her. Now, Isabell is the first female heavy equipment operator hired at Nish Rock in Garland, Utah.
Jessee Yesenia, a struggling single mom and former waitress who needed a steady income to support her family, joined the JATC Laborers Apprenticeship program. Jessee was able to go to school and get paid at the same time learning the flagging trade, making the same money as her coworkers who are men.
Concetta Defa has been an electrician for 15 years. Concetta’s father passed away when she was 17 years old, and her mother struggled financially to support the family. When Concetta became an electrician, she was able to help her mother in a way that she couldn’t help herself.
Everyone’s story is different, but in the end, women are all looking for the same thing–security. Women can create their own security for themselves and their families.
Read more about women in construction trades in an article by Peg McEntee in The Salt Lake Tribune.