What do women want?. When it comes to their careers, studies show, popular responses include options, opportunity, respect, geographical mobility and good pay.
Fortunately, for many women-and their families-that can describe many of the jobs available in the skilled trades. Trade occupations can include aviation technician, automotive painter, construction equipment operator, welder, carpenter, decorator, chef, horticulturist, IT support analyst, florist, electrician, tool and die maker and water-well driller, to name a few.
Why The Trades?.Careers in the trades can offer a chance to contribute to society and the opportunity to be your own boss. Skilled trades touch every part of Americans’ lives, from roads and homes to hospitals and schools. You can get hands-on training and a chance to “earn while you learn.”What Does It Take?.Some jobs need modest physical strength and endurance but most do not. Virtually all require intelligence and creativity as well as good reading, math and analytical skills. Thanks to technology, skilled trades are not “dirty,” as they once may have been. Knowledge of computer software and mechanical systems is increasingly important.
Opportunities On The Rise. This nation faces a looming shortage of skilled tradespeople. As the baby boomers retire over the next few years, the construction industry alone will be short more than 1 million workers.
What About Pay?.The salary ranges vary by job, location and experience but a skilled electrician can easily earn $70,000 a year. Apprentices and others may get less and the work for some is seasonal, while union members are often paid more than nonunion workers, report the experts at the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).
The organization was founded in 1955 to create a support network and enhance the success of women in the construction industry. It now has thousands of members around the world and has advanced the causes of all women in construction, from trades-women to business owners. According to the group, educational and career resources play an integral role in facing the challenges of this evolving industry.