Closing The Skilled Trades Gap With Women

D&F Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Services in Portland ORThe Key To Solving The Skilled Trades Labor Shortage

As the baby boomers head into their golden years, the labor force suffers from a lack of skilled workers. By 2030, 70 million boomers will leave the workforce. Where will that put the construction and manufacturing sectors?

Skilled trade jobs are currently the hardest positions to fill. This means customers are waiting longer and paying more for service. It makes hiring harder for employers, who struggle to find and keep good workers. Infrastructure falls by the wayside, water systems are unmaintained, and new construction is limited.

Want to know how to solve the skilled trades gap? Involve women.

Just 50 years ago, we rarely saw women turning a wrench or wearing a hard hat. But times have changed. Women in the trades are becoming more commonplace. Women see these new opportunities and are willing to get their hands dirty for a worthy payoff.

A Special Guest From Women In Trades

At D&F Plumbing, we hosted a motivated young woman from the Women In Trades pre-apprenticeship program. Amelia Templeton got a taste of what it’s like to be a technician for residential plumbing service and new construction.

Growing up, Amelia saw the lifestyle a career in the trades offers. She opted out of college to pursue the plumbing industry instead. As she shadowed a few of our most experienced journeymen plumbers, Amelia was encouraged by how welcoming the team was.

She didn’t feel any of the awkwardness or animosity that people warned her about. She said being a woman on the job site wasn’t a problem at all—everyone was eager to show her the ropes and answer her questions. Amelia was honest, saying the biggest challenge for her in this field would be her physical stature and strength. Fortunately, the program she’s in trains women on fitness conditioning. With experience, muscle development and advancing technology, physical strength will become less of a struggle in plumbing.

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Amelia expects to see more women join the trades in the coming years, and she wants to do her part to recruit more women. She shared her advice to other women and young girls interested in the trades saying, “you can do whatever you pursue,” and “never be afraid to ask questions. That will help you get the job done right the first time.” We couldn’t agree more.

The Cultural Shift Of Women In Blue-Collar Jobs Leads To Countless Possibilities

Skilled trade careers aren’t just about getting your hands dirty. These positions demand critical thinking, good customer service, problem-solving skills, strategy, and organization. A good understanding of technology and a love for math help too. And there’s no need for a college degree and years of student debt. With financial stability, medical benefits, bonuses, and retirement packages, why wouldn’t women take part?

D&F Plumbing celebrates women and encourages gender equality in the trades. There’s been progress in the last few decades, but women still only make up a small percentage of employees in these industries.

If you’re a woman interested in pursuing a rewarding career in the trades, take advantage of pre-apprentice and apprenticeship programs. These earn-as-you-learn systems give you education and experience while you earn a living wage. Programs like Pathways To Success puts you on a fast track into the union and helps with job placement.

We’re partial to seeing women in the plumbing industry, but electricians, machinists, fabricators, carpenters and many other jobs offer similar opportunities. We won’t lie—a career in the trades is hard work. Its physically and intellectually demanding. But anyone up for the challenge can succeed in these lucrative and worthwhile careers.

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