WOMEN IN TRADE: Seminar aims to encourage women to enter male-dominated fields

It is not often to find women in trade jobs, such as mechanics, welders and plumbers, as they are typically jobs held by men.

There is a push, however, to get more local women into these trade industries.

Women of all types of trades spoke at the frist-ever Women in Trade seminar Thursday night at AAI Trade School.

"Being a woman in a very male-dominated trade has its challenges for sure," said Master Welder Letty Rodriguez. "It urges you to push through it. To prove it."

Rodriguez graduated from AAI Trade School in 2015.

"Usually, you're the only chick working in a shop, and to see other women working in the industry inspires me to push harder, and inspire other people to join this trade," said Rodriguez.

The purpose of the seminar is to inspire other women to join the various trade industries. Executive Director of AAI Trade School, Dr. Joel Kostman, is hoping more women will enroll at the school. Currently, 7% of the student population at AAI are women.

"I'm hoping that this seminar, that we do this for years to come, and that other folks will realize tht we have talent in women that graduate from our school every rotation, every phase, and they are very well qualified to go out there and compete with any man that's been in the field," said Dr. Kostman.

On display at the seminar Thursday night was welding work done by Rodriguez, one of which was a bench made out of the front of the truck. Rodriguez had a message for other women who were looking to put their talents to work.

"Don't be afraid to do what you love," said Rodriguez. "If you're passionate about it, then work hard for it."

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