Mid-Michigan women explore the world of skilled trades

Women's Skilled Trades and Construction Lansing 2022
Published: Jul. 16, 2022 at 5:08 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Women in Mid-Michigan got the opportunity to explore construction and trades.

Community members were able to explore the world of construction and skilled trades on Saturday, July 16 at the Neighborhood Empowerment Center.

“I did not want to go into debt first of all to have a career,” said Millwright Debi Romain. “Our schooling, our apprenticeship school is free, we don’t charge for books or the schooling, and you get a pension. And going-- and getting a career that you love, which I absolutely love my career, to get a career that you love and not to have to pay for it is a big deal.”

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Women in Skilled Trades (WIST) is an organization that is working to develop programs and events to help educate and inform women about the career opportunities.

Tori Menold is the Co-founder of WIST. She told News10 there is a high demand for skilled tradespeople in Michigan right now.

“So, there is a significant shortage of skilled trade people in general,” Menold said. “There’s a huge gap between the number of women in the trade and men in the trade so it’s just really in my-my mind it’s really uh a big labor pool of opportunity for the trades for the industry to grow.”

Woman only make up about five percent of the construction workforce. Menold said by exposing more women to the opportunities in the skilled trades they are hoping to help fill that labor gap and promote the lives of women in the community.

Raquell Rivera is an alumni from the program and just became a carpenter.

She said if you’re interested, just go for it.

“There’s no negative repercussions that you could possibly have from doing this program,” said Rivera. “This program is basically just a well of opportunities and to show you anything is possible, especially as a woman coming up through the trades. It’s not normalized yet.”

WIST offers a Fall 2022 apprenticeship readiness program. Which is a 16-week program that will start your career in construction, by introducing the fundamentals and basic skills of the industry, through a combination of classroom and hands-on activities.

Applications are open until August 31 or until the cohort is full.

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