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Women in the trades

Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 710Member, Moderator, Administrator
"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.7 percent of HVAC installers and mechanics and 4.5 percent of sheet metal workers were women, as of 2015." This program seeks to change that.
President
HeatingHelp.com

Comments

  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,144Member
    There is a HVAC company right near me owned/operated by a woman. She does quite well.
    steve
  • GordyGordy Posts: 8,021Member
    Women are slowly moving into all trades. I have found that they have a high standard as to detail of the work.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 4,172Member
    edited December 2016
    I am in the pipefitters union and our local has several women journeymen and apprentices.

    There is also a decent sized non union electrical contractor in the area that is actively women owned and has an excellent reputation and they do commercial and industrial work.

    there is also a women owned sheet metal contractor that the owner went through the sheet metal apprentiship.
  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Posts: 1,340Member
    Hello, I was at the union gathering an Ann Arbor in August to teach about hot water stuff. I was pleased to see lots of women there, very interested in learning the trades. The UA has quite the commitment to education!

    Yours, Larry
  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Posts: 3,024Member
    We had a female volunteer to help on a Oil Heat Cares project a couple years ago. She is in the trade and doing very well at it
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • WayneMechWayneMech Posts: 47Member
    I suppose my experience with women in the trades is not positive.
    Women owners are given unfair advantage in many bidding situations, to the extent that many (in my experience) businesses have the actual owners wife listed as the owner.
    I have only interacted with one female in the world of heating techs. To put it softly, she was a witch (ever seen Brigadoon?).
    Over the years, I have come across several women starting in the heating business, none of whom lasted more than three weeks.
    A good friend of mine is a carpet layer. I asked him if there were any women in his trade. "No", he said, " They're just not strong enough. I've seen them try, but they're just not strong enough."
    Having said all that, please understand that I am not opposed to the idea of women working in the trades. As my father used to say, "Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should." Makes me think of a 300 pound man in a hard hat, with five o'clock shadow, working at the Macy's perfume counter. He could probably do the job, but why?
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,520Member
    A friend of mine sent me this poster the other day...
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 710Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Last year, I read an article in Plumber magazine by Anja Smith that has stayed with me. Anja works with her father in the plumbing industry and shared her perspective. She says, "The problem is, the trades are underestimated and under respected. That problem, though, isn’t a gender issue. It’s a generational issue. We need to get the message, about the fantastic opportunity that plumbing provides, out to every kid – not just half of them."
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,218Member, Moderator, Administrator
    The Lovely Marianne and I sold our business to a woman. She seems pretty strong to me. Always has. ;-)
    Retired and loving it.
  • FredFred Posts: 6,577Member
    Properly motivated, anyone, male or female can do almost anything they put their minds to!
  • HillyHilly Posts: 399Member
    I still see and hear a lot of macho sh*t in the plumbing field where I am. 'Oh I wouldn't hire her because they aren't strong enough, can't do this, can't lift that." I can understand where some old people may come from on this point because the job was once extremely physically demanding. They have images still from 1950 and 25 year olds were carrying cast iron tubs around on their backs. The same goes for lengths of cast iron and cast iron heaters. So I don't believe it's worth the time to have these conversations to convince a 70+ year old man on the way out that he needs to have women.

    The problem I have is the young men out there that learn these traits and say the same Sh*t like they know something about it. Let's be honest if you are working in a labour safe environment you know darn well that no person is expected to do any of this anymore. We now have come alongs, lifts, jacks, slings, hoists, pulleys, and on and on and on. The world is about working smarter and in that we all have the potential to be equals. A large mech company my friend works with said they love hiring female trades. They are more meticulous with the aesthetic of their work, they have less issue with tidy appearance, van, or paperwork. Professionalism on the jobsite and in public is never an issue. And he said, sadly, that big equal opportunity companies love seeing females walk through the door. So there's probably a hidden profit potential card being played there.

    The first female journeyperson (is journeyperson the politically correct terminology now?) in my province did an apprenticeship 8-week block with me. Also a friend of mine has also joined the trade and became the 2nd female to do so. I talk to her regularly and would not hesitate to give her name along to anyone. I have had people ask me in the past if they knew if she had work because they were hiring. So that tells me that times are changing. I for one am happy for it because a lot of young guys these days leave a lot to be desired. Sadly I have to say this but maybe some of these young lads need a woman in the field to either take them down a peg. 1/3rd or less of of the journeymen groups in my area are failing the final exam. 100% of the female apprentices I know passed the exam. How's that for a statistic.
  • FredFred Posts: 6,577Member
    Brains will beat brawn everytime @Hilly !
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,218Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Consider my friend, Jessica Baldwin. I'd put her up against any guy I've ever known in this business. She does amazing things in NYC: https://heatinghelp.com/assets/documents/Dorje-report1.pdf
    Retired and loving it.
  • HillyHilly Posts: 399Member
    edited January 2017
    Thanks for sharing Dan. I wonder if there are many other woman specializing in solar / geo / steam / etc
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,218Member, Moderator, Administrator
    She has an intensity and a passion for the work that is mesmerizing. And she is quite humble. Always looking to learn more from others. You'd like her a lot, Hilly.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Posts: 4,090Member
    A first for me in my Gas Technology class we started last night a husband and a wife in the class. They have no experience at all in the plumbing and heating trade but are very willing to learn. They will be working at some point with one of my former students Trish who owns the "Gas Lady" a gas service company. Thinking back my first female to bid into the service department from the union was a black female. She had a lot to overcome in an all male service department. She was one of my best students and turned out to be an excellent service person.

    I have even had the opportunity in the past to train an all women plumbing and heating company. The women who owned it had inherited it from her father. She had the novel idea to go all girl and it worked out real well.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,218Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Pipeworks, Tim?
    Retired and loving it.
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Posts: 4,090Member
    Yes that is who it is, yes I wish I could remember her name, I am getting old but I think it might have been something like Burleigh, just no sure. I have some fun stories to tell about those girls. Sometime we we are together I will tell you.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,218Member, Moderator, Administrator
    They were some of the best I ever had in my seminars. And they arrived in large groups. Chris Earnst was the boss. Strong woman. All-woman company. Nice memories.
    Retired and loving it.
  • hot rodhot rod Posts: 8,586Member
    I had two gals from two companies at my hydronics class this summer in Petoskey, MI. Over the years I have been seeing more and more gals get into our industry, more so at the wholesalers and engineering firms, but also out pulling wrenches and doing HVAC service work.

    Girl power.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • GordyGordy Posts: 8,021Member
    Motivation is the key factor with anyone. Male, or female. You just gotta want it. Pretty simple for the tenacious individual.

  • bob eckbob eck Posts: 745Member
    Young girls in early high school should be asked to get into the trade classes at their local votech schools.
    Take a 15 year old young man and a 15 year old young lady aske either one of them if they can solder copper fittings bet you neither one can. Young ladies can do anything young boys can.
    Young ladies getting into the trade business and the the sky is the limit. No reason they can not become installer, service techs, sales people or even owners of plumbing, heating, HVAC, electrical and other trade business. There needs to be a aggressive program to get young men and young ladies into all trade fields now. Where are future trade workers going to come from? If no American kids want to get into these trade jobs these jobs will be filled by forien workers leaving many young Americans without great paying jobs in these fields.
    Once the young people learn their chosen field they can live anywhere in America and work in their field or for that matter they can move almost to any country in the world and still work work in their field.
    Not every young person is cut out to go to college there is nothing wrong with going to the local votech school when in high school and then follow that up by going to a good trade school after high school to get further training in their chosen field. If they want to be a business owner a business degree would be very beneficial to them from a community college or a regular college.
    For young people in America right now if they put in the hard work and get the training needed to get into these fields they can have a great career and make good money but they need to get up off their butts and put in the hard work and not sit around waiting for someone to help them out.

    Wholesalers, wholesaler buying groups, ASA, manufacturer reps and manufacturers all need to work together to get more young people into the trade schools.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,520Member
    You couldn't have said it better, @Bob Eck! The biggest trick seems to be convincing the teachers and parents that the trades are just as worthy as some fancy college degree.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • HillyHilly Posts: 399Member
    Bob Eck you're right. This is how must societies develop sports teams. They often call it grass roots development.
  • bob eckbob eck Posts: 745Member
    Check out what Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and Norm Abram from This Old House with Generation NEXT.
    Check it out in the This Old House magazine Jan / Feb 2017

    Are any wholesalers, manufacturer reps, manufacturers or buying groups doing anything about this looming problem.

    If no one is entering these fields who will we sell our stuff to and on a personal level if you thing it is expensive to have work done in your home now with a shortage of SKILLED workers the cost to get things fixed and installed will go way up.
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