“I first heard about the trades from friends. I always liked working with my hands and building things. Plus, I had just had twins, so I wanted something stable. It’s the best decision I ever made, and I love Local 332,” said Local 332 member Kim Davis.
“When I get the opportunity to share, I do. In high school, they promote college, but that’s not the route for everyone. So when I had the chance to teach other women about the trades, I jumped at it.
“My employer, Prime Electric, was doing outreach at Cypress Mandela Training Center’s program, ‘I Can Fix It Myself.’ It’s a 12-week program in Oakland for survivors of domestic abuse and sex trafficking where participants learn basic repairs to eliminate the need to rely on their abusers. 332 members Misty Albrecht, Annie Aarons-Sawi, and I volunteered to speak.
“The women learn auto repair such as changing oil, brakes, and tire pressure; plumbing like fixing a toilet, changing a faucet, and fixing a leak; patching holes; and changing the locks. I shared information about the union: the application process, apprenticeship, and the day-to-day job. We had a sample project making up a J-box so they could get their hands on some tools. Each participant received a Klein 11-in-1 screwdriver.
“It’s a very moving program. Helping women out of bad situations so they can be self-sufficient is important to me. They leave the program more independent and not dependent on someone who might be hurting them.
“I think we can all relate to that independence of the trades. We can do things for ourselves, and we don’t have to rely on anyone. The trades also allow us to be financially independent because of the solid wages. Most of all, there’s a sense of satisfaction that comes with a good day of work, and it builds confidence. The trades is for everyone–men and women–and I encourage everyone to get the word out.”