If you’re familiar with my blogs, you realize by now that I’m quite passionate about women in the trades. This passion led me to begin an organization called Texas Women in Trades. Charles Sagray, Mr. Plumber himself, and I started the organization in mid-2014. The goal of Texas Women in Trades is to bring more women, minorities and young people to the trades.
It’s been three years since I began working for Mr. Plumber. In that time, I found that I was typically the only woman in the room when meeting with other contractors and tradespeople. While I didn’t mind personally, I wondered where the women were hiding. Why aren’t there more women in the trades? Well, a good deal of women are not presented with the option. They simply don’t realize they could do it! I found the trades through happenstance and am grateful every day for the serendipitous circumstance. However, growing up, the trades were not introduced to be in school as a career option. Through my work with Texas Women in Trades, I’ve found that I’m not the only one. My catalyst for beginning this organization stems from this lack of communication and education.
We started Texas Women in Trades as an LLC, member-driven, organization. We focus on recruitment, education and EMPLOYMENT. That’s where we differ from other organizations in that we work to bridge the gap between employee and employer. A common complaint amongst contractors has been, “I can’t find workers.” This complaint has plagued the industry for decades, possibly longer. So what can we do about it? Well, I wasn’t entirely sure – but I was passionate enough to want to dig, probe and delve to find solutions.
Texas Women in Trades serves a number of individuals:
- Student/apprentice memberships are sponsored by individuals, companies and other organizations active within TWIT. The Student/apprentice is paired with a mentor in the recruit’s field of interest. This ensures that, not only will be recruit them to the trades, but we work to retain them. Students/apprentices also have access to a job portal that links them directly to employers in their area. They are able to network, attend events and take workshops that our organization provides.
- Contractor/employer memberships include networking, access to workshops and access to the job portal. They are able to post directly to the portal: job descriptions, open positions and job ads to reach out to potential employees. They have the potential to mentor or sponsor an apprentice.
- Organizations/manufacturers/big business memberships are the backbone to our success. We depend completely on the funds provided by these memberships. We have the support of some local, statewide and national businesses and organizations that are passionate about bringing more people to the trades. These individuals have a keen interest in recruitment – as the number of tradespeople drops, so does their bottom line. These memberships include a great deal of social media and marketing presences to pool resources and increase awareness about trades careers.
- Supporter memberships are reserved for non-profit organizations. They have access to our resources and job portal, and we have access to their resources as well.
In the past year we have held a handful of meetings across the state. We’ve gained multiple sponsors, supporters and members from all areas of the trade industry. We have placed apprentices in trades jobs with the potential to advance their careers. Our blogs and social presence have penetrated to a national level of coverage and awareness. We attend career fairs, expos and job fairs across the state and work intimately with anyone interested in a trades’ career.
In the near future we are partnering with contractors in the state to broach legislation and enforce the importance of bringing trades education back into the school systems. We are constantly adding new members and searching for ways to serve those members better every day. We’ve started a “Trades Initiative” in San Antonio, linking with business and organizations and forming committees to create action plans and implement actions to tackle the issue of recruitment and retention. We will start this Initiative in San Antonio and take the campaign to a national level. If you or someone you know may be interested in a career in the trades and isn’t sure exactly where to start, please contact Allie Perez directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Plumber is proud to sponsor such a necessary endeavor.