Schools Rule: Program to bring a female presence to a male-dominated industry

Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 9:45 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The U.S. Department of Labor reports the most popular jobs for women are nursing, teaching, or customer service work. However, high school junior Sophie Colburn is interested in a different path. “Heavy equipment operation and repair,” said Colburn. The Eaton Regional Education Service Agency and Lansing Community College offer a program for students like Colburn, who are trying to bring a female presence to a male-dominated industry.

Career Pathway Specialist, Eaton RESA, Sara Jobson thinks there should be more women in manufacturing.

“Well, it’s just important that everyone feels the opportunities to be a part of everything that is out there,” said Jobson. The program highlights auto technology, heavy equipment operation and repair, and welding technology and students receive direct college credit. Jobson, career pathway specialist said, “we have seen our numbers grow over the past 5 years.”

The hands-on learning experience has been around since 1974 and continues to inspire a new generation.

“I come from a family of welders my mom was a great welder, my dad was an excellent welder, and my grandpa was a welder,” said Gianna Burgess, a high school senior. Burgess hopes to take skills from the interactive experience and apply them to the real world. “It’s an eye opener for different opportunities that can come,” said Burgess.

Students should keep their eyes open to new programs that can help them in the future.

Over 2500 students participated in the fall 2022 - 2023 semester of the women’s manufacturing programs.

Officials said they hope to see that number continue to grow throughout the spring and their summer programs.

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