Manufacturing Week: Women in trades

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LANSING, MI (WILX) -- Women make up only 5% of the construction workforce, a field that's going to need more than 500,000 workers in the next decade, but one group in Lansing is giving women the opportunity to fill those jobs while breaking the stigma that women don't belong in skilled trades.

"You almost feel like you're making history with the women that you're with," Angel Duby, cohort member, said.

Lansing's Women in Skilled Trades Program is giving 12 women every semester a chance to do something they never thought they'd do.

"Women aren't presented that as an option for the future," Duby said. "It's just not an option at all. Don't do it."

But now, after spending years in school getting a degree she wanted something different.

"I wanted something new...I wanted something I never tried before. From there, it was kind of like 'what now,'" Duby said.

The program gives it's members a fresh outlook on their future with hands-on experience helping more than just their future jobs.

"We get to drive excavators and use the boom truck and stuff...how many people get to do that?"

"You can take those skills home and use them for your own needs," Marian Baker, cohort member, said.

"It gives you the confidence to tackle something, something as simple as a leaky faucet. That can never be taken away from you," Kathi Deese, cohort member, said.

For those women who aren't sure about their future, a message from Women in skilled trades' third cohort.

"Don't be afraid to go out and try something new apply for a program like this. You learn a lot of book-work, life skills, but you also learn about yourself and what you're really made of, and that's the biggest takeaway for me," Deese said.

The program help to give women enough experience to decide what skilled trade works best for them.

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