Thursday, March 10, 2022
Meet some of the women in WECA's apprenticeship and electrician trainee certificate programs, and follow along with our Women in Construction Week social media coverage!
First-year WECA Commercial Electrical Apprentice Sheila Moles cites “always being fascinated by electricity and how things work” as her motivation for pursuing a career as a commercial electrician through WECA and Member Contractor Ferrari Development, Inc.
Thus far, Sheila says that her experience with WECA has been good and noted that everyone she has met has been very helpful.
“The advantage of WECA is all of the benefits that you get and having people behind you every step of the way to success,” says Sheila. “My success and best interest is supported by WECA, and the WECA team has been on it. They have answered every question I’ve had.”
Although her journey’s just begun, Sheila says that being an electrician has changed her life.
“I feel more self-sufficient and that I am contributing to the world in a necessary trade,” says Sheila. “I am learning as much as I possibly can every chance I get. And there’s something about the work that makes me feel proud after finishing a task or a project. I enjoy problem-solving and giving it my all.”
Sheila also notes that “Being in this field as a woman—a gay woman—is an experience. I’m growing and learning every day to keep my confidence in myself and my work. Just as life is, things happen around us and we can flow through knowing who we are. I’m very grateful to have my support system. I also think more women should join the field because we are able. We can motivate and support each other through the hard times and celebrate the successes.”
Sheila, thank you for being part of the WECA family. We’re honored to be able to support you in your endeavors and look forward to celebrating your success with you!
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WECA Electrician Trainee Tiffany Smith is proof that it’s never too late to find your dream career.
“I have held many jobs over the years, but this is the first time I have felt like I have found the thing I’m meant to do,” says Tiffany. “The job is satisfying, the work is plentiful, and the pay is pleasing. My favorite thing about my job is turning lights on for people for the first time. I love that on any given day, when I leave my job, I can see the progress I have made. It’s tangible.”
As a female electrician, Tiffany reports that sometimes people are confused by her presence or mistake her for the homeowner or someone’s wife.
“But once people see that I can do the work in front of me, they just let me do my thing,” says Tiffany.
In fact, Tiffany says that “sometimes my boss calls to ask for calculations because he knows that I know how to find them quickly.”
Tiffany says that WECA’s GetWired program has set her up for success in the field.
“WECA has been amazing. I feel like I have learned so much. Many times, my WECA experience has translated to useful real-world knowledge in job situations,” says Tiffany.
Additionally, Tiffany appreciates the flexibility and career stability that WECA and the GetWired program offer.
“I’m so grateful for a program that still allows me the time for my job and my family. The trainee program schedule allows me to work my job and take care of my family without having to give anything up. Plus, I have a college degree. It does not guarantee you a job. Electricians can always find a job,” says Tiffany.
Thank you for being a WECA Electrician Trainee, Tiffany! We’re thrilled to help you pursue your new career while maintaining that perfect work-school-life balance.
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First-year Low Voltage Apprentice Gina Raimondi with WECA Member Contractor North State Electrical Contractors, Inc., is new to the low voltage trade, but she’s no stranger to WECA.
Gina—who spent 10 years working as a supervisor at a retail pharmacy—was encouraged to become a WECA Low Voltage Apprentice by her brother, second-year Low Voltage Apprentice Tony Raimondi. Her parents and another brother—who works in the electrical field in Idaho—also encouraged her to leave her previous career.
“I spent about 10 years as a supervisor at a retail pharmacy, which can be tough to walk away from, but I was really not doing well, physically or mentally, anymore,” says Gina. “I saw how much my brother was enjoying his apprenticeship, so I kind of just said why not?”
Gina reports that she now feels great after changing careers, and “enjoys learning on the job 100 percent. I feel like being a Low Voltage Apprentice is super rewarding for me and I feel good about what I do.”
Being a woman in the low voltage industry is just another day for Gina, although she says she gets a huge kick out of people doing double takes because they don’t expect to see a woman running around on a jobsite. Additionally, Gina was surprised by how respectful some guys can be.
“My personal philosophy is ‘why not,” says Gina. “I like to try to understand things, whether it’s how something works, all the way to how someone works. Asking myself why not has led me to favorite foods, enjoying a new career field, and actually giving my husband a second chance after a pretty bad introduction when we first met!”
It has served her well thus far.
“I personally enjoy being a low voltage technician because I get to see the insides of a building, and the side perks include being in comfortable clothes, listening to music all day, and getting to install cabling that other people can use to help power their homes,” says Gina. “I get to learn and work with all sorts of people and add to my knowledge of how to work competently in my new career. Everyone has a slightly different method, and it’s really nice that I can create my own after seeing how many ways there are to do a task,” says Gina.
The flexibility doesn’t just stop with work, though. Gina also appreciates the flexibility that WECA’s Low Voltage Apprenticeship program offers.
“For me the perk of WECA is continuing to work without the added stress of a packed day,” says Gina. [Editor’s note: WECA—unlike some other apprenticeship programs, which require attendance at night—schedules two weeks of in-person classes during the daytime at a WECA training facility every six months.] “I’m not a very good multi-tasker in terms of trying to work, study, and go to class multiple times a week. I absolutely love that WECA gave me the chance to start a new career with a great company and learn while working.
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