WOMEN IN NONTRADITIONAL CAREERS
Do you want a career that pays well? changes every day? stays interesting? challenges you? keeps you moving? empowers women?
Read inspiring stories of women who dared to be different.
As a woman in the manufacturing industry, I am inspired by other women leading the way, whether working as a team to put products together or to get the product shipped to the customer.
Stephanie Cortes, Electromechanical and Cable Assembler
I like being outside and working with my hands, and if I feel good doing it, then why should I be limited if I’m a woman? Why shouldn’t I be making the big bucks, having health insurance, and double pension and annuity with the union? Why should I stay making $12 an hour doing something I’m not really happy at when I want a well-paying career that offers me a good future?
Vanessa Casillas, Bricklayer
When I first began my apprenticeship, I found out I was pregnant. This is now my fourth year in the trades and the benefits and money coming in really help because now I’m a single mother. I have pride in what I do and I hope that eventually my son will say “yeah, my mom does that” and have pride in me as well. Nothing is impossible with the right motivation and determinations. – Tamara McCoullough, sheet metal worker
Tamara McCoullough, sheet metal worker
I grew up with the perception that smart people went to college and the trades were for dummies. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I know real geniuses who are pipefitters. There is a place for everyone in the trades. A college education is not necessary, but the smarter and better educated you are, the farther you’ll go.
Anne Kahle, pipefitter
Women in nontraditional careers often earn more than women who have earned a four-year degree, graduating without debt and earning more over their lifetime. Let’s keep earning.
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Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I prepare for a career in the trades?
- How do I apply for skilled trade apprenticeships in the Philadelphia region?
First, decide which trade(s) you want to apply for. Do your research by visiting apprentice.org, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Apprentice Coordinators Association. Each trade has a different application process. Download the latest schedule here.
- How do I train for manufacturing jobs?
Philadelphia and Bucks Community Colleges offer training in advance manufacturing, including pre-apprenticeships. Contact them and find out if your tuition can be covered by federal grants or PA CareerLink® programs. Explore manufacturing career pathways, wages and qualifications here.
- I’m interested in the trades or a vehicle operator job with SEPTA. How do I prepare and apply?
Look for “Current Job Openings”
Read postings carefully to see what training, skills and experience are needed.
There are keywords in the postings that must be in one’s resume when applying, to increase the chance you will be chosen for an interview. Answer the questions based on the position you are applying for. You need to be willing to work shifts, nights, weekends, holidays etc. If you have a CDL license, that gives extra points. The higher the point totals, the better the chance.
Once you have applied, you can email Colleen May, a WINC Steering Committee member [email protected]. She offered to advise aspiring tradeswomen to see how many points your application has and what might need to be changed.
- I already work in a nontraditional job. How can I offer or receive support through mentorship or networking?
Fill out the contact form to join the WINC community. We will contact you about networking and mentorship opportunities.
Or connect to local and national tradeswomen groups like:
- How do I help young women explore these careers?
What are your questions? Use the contact form to tell us. While we can’t respond individually to every question, we will post answers on this page.