Building Wisconsin women’s futures in construction
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - These women are homemakers. Literally.
In celebration of Women in Construction Week and Women’s History Month, Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership hosted a career fair on Tuesday, focused on building paths for women in construction.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Karen Candela said with a laugh, while representing her industry at the fair. “I have fun everyday.”
Candela says she built a better future for her family over the past eight years as an iron worker.
“To be able to do a job that’s considered a ‘man’s job,’ it feels pretty cool,” Candela said. “It feels awesome.”
Only about 11% of construction workers are women, according to the National Association of Women in Construction. Wisconsin women in the industry want to change that.
“This really helped because I was a single mom. So I was able to jump in and still take my classes in the afternoon and working and get paid and you can still feed your family, feed your children,” Candela said.
These women are paving new ways in construction, and encouraging others to do the same.
“By the time I’m a journeyman, I’m actually going to make twice as much as I was making after several years of college and several years of corporate world,” Stacy Ironside, a second-year sheet metal apprentice, said.
Technology and team work lessens the heavy lifting.
“For women, I think we think we can’t physically do it,” Ironside said. “But we can. We can physically and mentally do it.”
From pay to opportunities, construction is a level playing field, said Stephanie Moreno, the organizer behind Tuesday’s career fair.
“It’s one of the things I think is really fantastic about this industry,” Moreno said. “You’re all the same. It doesn’t matter.”
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