Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Alumni Spotlight: Demi Zayas
The birth of her daughter sparked Demi Zayas' desire to become an electrician.
Though mechanically inclined from a young age thanks to her father's background in carpentry, her daughter's birth made her realize that "the next best step to giving her a good future was to join the trades."
And she did just that, joining a small yet growing club of females increasingly drawn to traditionally male-dominated industries.
"Being a female is pretty interesting in a male field," said Zayas. "I'm generally ignored for the first 3 weeks and then once people kind of see who I am, how I am and that I do work hard and carry my own weight, everything opens up and nobody has an issue with me being a female."
According to Data USA and the United States Census Bureau, there are only 15,864 female electricians in the United States - shockingly low when compared to the 732,242 males working in the industry. These figures illustrate the urgent need for role models - such as Zayas - to serve as beacons of light for women aspiring to careers in the trades.
"More females should join the trades because it's an amazing experience, the satisfaction of seeing something after it's built," said Zayas. "It's so gratifying and it gives you such a sense of accomplishment to be able to see something after the fact."
However, regardless of gender, Zayas recommends WECA as a place where aspiring electricians can go to learn the tools of the trade in a fun and supportive environment.
"WECA was the gateway to the life I have today. It taught me everything in this open, accepting and wonderfully explanatory place. [You can] just really broaden your knowledge in this field, and really get to understand the nuts and bolts of how electricity works and how these buildings get powered and put together," said Zayas.
And the future is bright for the electrical trades, according to Zayas.
"Electricity is not going anywhere - the necessity is not going to go away," said Zayas. "If anything, it's just going to become more innovative, and be used differently and more efficiently."
Zayas elaborates, stating that she had "a 35-year superintendent tell me that he still doesn't know everything, but every day he comes to work and almost every day he learns something new. I think that's really engaging and really exciting because you never know what you might learn tomorrow."
But most of all, Zayas emphasizes that aspiring electricians "will never know everything, [but] just keep that mentality and always be willing to learn, and you can take this job anywhere you want it to go."