Women in Construction

By: Kara Tsuboi
By: Kara Tsuboi

Lana Cassady is six months away from completing her Plumbers and Pipefitters apprenticeship. She's helping to instruct today's workshop to introduce women to the career and to show them that they can be a success in a male-dominated field.

"The only thing that stops you is your own determination. If you don't want to learn it, you're not going to go as far. If you're not interested, same thing, you're not going to go as far. If you're interested, you're going to go further because you want to learn the next step," say Cassady.

According to the United States Department of Labor, as of August of this year, women make up roughly 12% of the overall construction industry.

"The traditional thought has been that it's a man's job. Just like it's been a man's world. Reality is, that's not what it is anymore," says Becky Massingill, the Vice President for the Western Apprenticeship Coordinators Association.

She helped organize the free job workshop that featured 16 different trades. Everything from Plumbing to Laborers to Operating Engineers.

Fifty women turned out for the workshops, some completely new to the industry, others looking to expand their original skill set.

"I like the work. I'm a hard worker, I like physical labor. I haven't done it for many years, but I'm trying to get back into it," says Louise Valadez, a workshop participant.

As many women soon find, sometimes their gender makes them better at certain skills than men.


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