Students » Women in Trades

Women in Trades

Less than 3.4% of construction trade workers are women, according to research conducted by the Institute for 3.4% pie chart Women’s Policy Research, 2018 report.
That number is comparable with other SKILLED TRADES when it comes to percent of women. We are focused on narrowing this skills gap. 
The US Department of Labor Statistics reports that women are substantially underrepresented (relative to their share of total employment) in agriculture, mining, construction, manufacturing, and transportation and utilities. The jobs that are available and will become available are suffering a shortage and women can help fill those gaps. There are opportunities for learning and careers in these industries that we need to help women realize are out there.
Celebrating Women
Women in Trades Month and CTE is celebrating women in the skilled trades by highlighting some of our own students in the Trades. Their stories are below and we'll add more each week. 
“By highlighting what the young women in our programs are doing, we hope to inspire more young women to get into the trades and to think more about non-traditional career paths,” said Nancy DeStefano, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Programs.
Spotlight on Mya Julius
Mya in front of cars
“I like fixing things up and putting them back together and having them look super new,” says Mya Julius, a senior at Cambridge High School who is in the Auto Body Repair Program.
She got interested in auto body repair because she had a few friends who were in the automotive technology program. She says she likes working with cars but mechanics wasn’t really for her. Learning auto body repair opened up a new aspect of working in the automotive industry for her. “This way I can still work with cars.”
Mya toured BOCES as a 10th grader and was drawn to the program. Things really came together for her when she returned for a shadow day.
“I really liked it here. I liked the work that we did and the people that were here. It was a really fun environment.”

Mya is currently working doing an internship at Cole’s Collision. She loves the level of experience that she is getting. She plans to attend Hudson Valley Community College for auto body repair. She says, “after that I am looking at working for Cole’s or maybe doing a specialty training program.”

Although, auto body repair tends to be male dominated, that doesn’t bother Mya. She says, “it has just made me stand out even more and made me want to work harder and show that I can be better than them.”
Spotlight on Amber Flynn Amber Flynn next to dump truck
Amber Flynn completed the Environmental Conservation & Forestry Program at the F. Donald Myers Education Center and graduated in 2020 from Schuylerville High School. She says, “my CTE program helped me prepare for the real world by giving me experience on equipment and making me more confident.”
Amber wasted no time after graduation getting into the industry. She now works for the D.A. Collins Companies in the Kubricky branch as a laborer. A newly minted member of the workforce, and despite the pandemic, Amber already has quite a few great job experiences under her belt. She has been a flagger, worked on replacing a box culvert, and working at a wastewater plant where she has assisted in adding onto their facility, doing concrete work and applying new systems in their air tanks. She has traveled a bit around the state for work too.
Amber says she is happy that she decided to get into construction. “ I love the outdoors, learning new things, and being busy.” Amber is continuing her education by pursuing her CDL this spring through the Employment Training for Adults program. 
When asked what advice she has for other young women who are interested in the trades, she said, “don’t be afraid just because you're a girl. Don’t let that stop you.”

Spotlight on Montana Bryant

Montana Bryant in welding class

Montana Bryant, a senior from Hudson Falls who is in the welding program at the Southern Adirondack Education Center says her fascination with welding began with her family. “My uncle welds. My dad welds sometimes. My grandpa used to weld.” 
One thing she loves about welding, is that it can be surprisingly relaxing. “With flux core welding it has a coating that you have to chip away at so it helps you relax as you're hitting.”
Montana loves drawing and considers welding to be like sculpting, which she recently started to get into. She has a horse and does rodeo. Montana is currently interning at DA Collins and hopes to get a job there after graduation. 
She says she enjoys a little friendly competition with her classmates to see who is the better welder. We asked her what she would like to tell people, particularly girls, about getting into the trade. Not surprisingly, she said, “we are honestly better welders. We are strong as guys are.” 
Montana shared some advice that her grandpa gave her that has stuck with her since she was little, “don’t be afraid to try new things. Sometimes it can take you to places that you'll never know.” 
Montana is also interested in heavy equipment. She grew up around big machines and knows how to run a few. She wants to continue learning about them so she can widen her experience and gain a competitive edge in her future career. Montana Bryant says she is ready to let the sparks fly for her future. 
Spotlight on Palina Garcia
Paulina in front of equipment
“It is really refreshing to go outside, use equipment, and learn how to do different things that I wouldn't learn in regular school and be able to apply those to real life,” says Palina Garcia, a junior from Saratoga Springs Highschool. She is in the Environmental Conservation & Forestry Program at the F. Donald Myers Education Center.
Palina’s school counselor recommended that she join the program because she loves the outdoors. She was a little intimidated when she learned she would be the only female in the class. But on the first day, she said she was prepared for it.
“When I got here I realized that I'm going to have to kind of prove to myself and everybody else that I am capable of doing this and I am not less than anybody else here.”
Her instructor says she is doing a top notch job with operating the equipment. She says she particularly likes the tractor.
“I am very happy with my decision. I feel like the program gives me a bunch of opportunities that I wouldn’t have if I were in regular school.”
When asked what kind of advice Palina would like to give other young women who might be thinking about non-traditional career paths, she says “if they’re interested in it, just go for it. Whether it's in trade or not, no one's going to sit there and tell you that you cannot do it.”
She says she could see why people get intimidated by this line of work because it is male dominated. But she says, “just join. You can literally do anything that they can do. It's just matter of being able to believe in yourself.”
All month long, our friends at the Exfactor are supporting and empowering female students to discover rewarding career pathways and training programs related to skilled trades. Our goal is to engage students and reach parents with the message that skilled trades provide rewarding career opportunities. Click to LEARN MORE