Earn more by entering a nontraditional career in the trades.

Click here for trades training programs in the Philly region

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.

Stephanie works in a nontraditional career in Philadelphia

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

Vanessa is a skilled construction worker, read her success story!

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

Tamara is a woman working in a nontraditional career!

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

Anne is a woman working in a nontraditional career

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.

Women in Transit- Philadelphia Tradeswomen careers

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Is a nontraditional career right for you?

Do you want to get paid while you learn?

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prepare for a career in the trades?

Here’s a list of training programs in construction and manufacturing. Use this list to plan for your next career move or step.

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?

Go to septa.org and choose “Careers”

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:

Women in Manufacturing, Eastern PA
National Association of Women In Construction, Philadelphia
Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference

How do I help young women explore these careers?

Download this resource list of videos, resources and ideas.

Download the FAQs (PDF) here.

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.

Listen to Women in Nontraditional Careers (WINC) Podcast:
“Today’s Rosie”

>>Click here to Watch Powerful Stories of Women in the Trades<<

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This project has been funded in part, with Federal funds from the Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration under contract number DOL-ETA-16-C-0104. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies for the DOL, nor does mention of organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.