HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE TRADE?
Christine went to college got her Bachelor’s Degree and now needed to pay back her student loans. Her dad had worked for one of the contractors and suggested she apply.
She did and was so excited to get in. She applied, three months later took her test, did the interview, was on the list for 6 months. At this point she really wanted to get in. Her dad mentioned to a NECA rep that his daughter had applied and was still waiting. It just so happened that the NECA rep said they had a PRE-Apprentice program starting the next day. Keep in mind Christine had a job at Panera Bread and had to quit that day so she could start in the PRE-Apprentice program the next day. It all happened so fast.
Here in the PRE-Apprentice program she was able to get so much field experience. She spent 2 months in this program and then got the call to go into the Apprentice Program.
WHAT SHE DID BEFORE THE TRADE, SCHOOL?
Christine went to college at OCC then transferred over to Oakland University where she went into Psychology. An undergrad degree is great but going into Psychology you really need your Masters and then your Doctorate. This is was nearly impossible to pay for Grad school even though she loved the field of Psychology. While going to college she also worked at a minimum wage job.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PLACES YOU’VE WORKED?
Christine has been in the trades for 2 years now. She is currently laid off since Dec. 13th along with 100 or so other apprentices. She has been assigned to the Research & Engineering Department at Ford, worked at their crash test track site, Ford Rouge Plant, Ford World Headquarters, and Wayne State University.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
She loves being at the different jobs, working for 8 hours. She can see the measurable progress in the work she does and gets to see the fruits of her labor, watching projects grow and say “I helped build that!” She loves that every day is different, even the fact that every day she is tired….it’s actually a great feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.
WHY DO YOU FEEL ITS IMPORTANT FOR WOMEN TO CONSIDER THE TRADES?
With women in the field it gives more diversity and different view points. Explains to women that in the trades everyone makes the same money ….a man and a woman. Also while working in the Trades it offers constant learning while you are working at the same time.
ADVICE YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN STARTING OR GROWING A CAREER WITH US?
The best advice she has is to tell women to ask questions, lots of questions, don’t be embarrassed because doing electrical work is very dangerous so you want to get it right. Be inquisitive if you do not understand something. The trades people all around will definitely help you out. The sisters in the trade are someone you can lean on. There is a Facebook page for the Women’s Committee. Here women can get a lot of great information from peers who are constantly throwing out questions and suggestions on all aspects of the job, even the personal and simple ones like best boots and clothes to wear to how to wear your hair to keep that hard hat on.
WHAT QUALITIES MAKE YOU MOST SUCCESSFUL IN THE TRADE?
Christine says her 2 best qualities are she is very organized and pays attention to detail. She writes everything down so she never forgets on the job, she likes her work space very neat and clean and will actually clean up after colleagues if need be.
WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
She has found that not only do the women support her but the men in the trades are also very supportive. She has been able to connect with everyone. Great environment to work in, it’s inclusive and a lot of people are eager to pass on information.
She is single, no children, but is a very proud aunt!