Careers in trades increasingly a great choice for women

The knocking of hammers and buzzing of saws can easily be associated with construction and the trades industry. Typically, at least in the more traditional sense, those people swinging the hammers and working the saws have been of the male variety. But that may be changing.

A good example of that progress is Kalysta Sormunen, a 2018 graduate of the Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College, a public, tuition-free early college program that enables students from Marquette and Alger counties to earn a high school diploma, some college credits and a technical certificate from Northern Michigan University.

Sormunen, as detailed in a Monday Journal story, recently signed with the Carpenters and Millwrights Local 1510 after a successful pre-apprenticeship.

Sormunen said she wasn’t sure how she’d be able to finance college, so the technical middle college turned out to be a good option. She also discovered a new passion for the trades after she tried a welding class.

Other young ladies got some experience in the trades during the Women in Construction Day on April 5 in NMU’s Jacobetti Complex.

They got to try out three-dimensional modeling, welding and woodworking. They built wood shelves out of pallets and fabricated the hooks for those shelves in the welding shop.

“What we’re finding, especially through research, is that the younger we introduce these concepts to students, the more likely they are to consider it as an option or a viable option for a career,” said NMU professor Heidi Blanck, who’s active in the program. “By introducing it in middle school, it’s our hope that maybe they would consider taking a wood shop or a welding course when they get to high school and continue to explore those options a little bit further so that down the line it can help kind of meet the needs of our industry through trades and administrative roles.”

Events like Sormunen’s signing and Women in Construction Day are helping to raise awareness that a career in the trades is a potential path for young women. That’s something we support wholeheartedly.

— The Mining Journal, Marquette

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