Women Are Finding Opportunities in the Skilled Trades

Women Are Finding Opportunities in the Skilled Trades

Who says there’s no room for women in the skilled trades? Mr. Dirty Jobs and Somebody’s Gotta Do It himself, Mike Rowe, essentially says “Pshaw!” to this outdated notion in a new Forbes article wherein he explodes “5 Damaging Myths About Blue Collar Labor.” In his new webcast series Hot Under the Blue Collar, Mike says that there is indeed plenty of room for skilled women in the trades, citing figures that include 3.1 million skilled jobs being currently available, with another 2.5 million openings in the next two years. Another destroyed myth? That trade jobs are dead-end jobs. Tulsa Welding School also “graphically” illustrates this current demand, providing more details on the varied skilled-trade opportunities for women.

More Skilled Trades Acknowledging Women

Welding, HVAC, construction, electrical maintenance, and plumbing are among the skilled trades industries embracing women. As Mike Rowe points out, 95 percent of workers in these industries are still men, and companies want to change this not only because they need to fill skilled positions but also because “it just looks bad in 2016 to have one gender so heavily represented.”

It’s not just companies recognizing the need for more women in the skilled trades, either. Case in point, a recent non-profit Detroit welding class filled with single mothers and itinerant women looking to learn a new skill and apply their newfound hands-on abilities to jobs that pay the bills as well as their own satisfaction in a task well done. Of course, further training at a trade school would likely be necessary to secure a good welding job, but it’s appropriate that this 12-day introductory course in welding basics is in Detroit, the city where the real-life woman who was the inspiration for the World War II icon “Rosie the Riveter” lived and worked. But Detroit is among many places that are seeing an upsurge in women trying their hands at non-traditional skills.

Overcoming Obstacles to Enter the Trades

Fear of trying out a new task or breaking with society’s conventional attitudes about women’s roles in the workplace is among the possible deterrents to women entering the skilled trades. But as Daniela Hagen, who arrived at welding after trying numerous career options, relates, “Women can do exactly what men can do. We just need to not be scared to try.” Hopefully, media attention on the opportunities for them in the skilled trades will encourage more women to consider these promising professions.

Want to learn more about opportunities for women in the skilled trades? Check out the infographic below.

women skilled trades success

This article was written by Kathy Jackson from

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