ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Increasingly more women are going into male-dominated fields, as seen at Texas State Technical College (TSTC) campuses in the Big Country over the past couple of years. This increase was noticeable at Wednesday’s industry job fair.
While a room full of students searching for future jobs opportunities made the TSTC job fair seem typical, more women were seen gathering around booths this year, of more non-traditional career paths like welding and wind energy.
TSTC student Casey Allen told KTAB/KRBC she plans to do maintenance on wind turbines after school. Although Allen originally planned to go to a 4-year university, her interest in towers, like the wind turbines, grew, and she changed her path.
“I knew going into it that it was going to be a male-dominated field, and it is scary in some ways,” revealed Allen. “You go in there and you know what you’re doing, and it stops mattering.”
According to Associate Provost for TSTC, Raquel Mata, women have typically leaned towards the nursing booth at these job fairs in previous years, but more women are also changing their path, like Allen.
“10 years ago, we weren’t really talking about this, but we’re seeing that influx now,” Mata said. “It’s easy to look at when you see a welding shop of 30 students, and now you’re seeing four or five female students, when typically, it was one or two.”
This, per Mata, is because of a recent push in encouraging students to open their minds to new career opportunities.
TSTC alumni Kaitlin Sullivan said she planned to work on wind turbines like Allen, but is now a service electrician for a printing press company, Koenig & Bauer.
“90%, I believe of the world’s currency, comes off our printing presses,” boasted Sullivan. “Being in this position is unbelievable. I never would’ve expected this coming from TSTC.”
Sullivan told KTAB/KRBC more people in general are going into technical colleges.
“Just job security, right? If you get an education, you want to make sure that you have a job at the end of that, right? That’s not always guaranteed at a 4-year university,” Sullivan added.
However, Mata explained that these women are leading the way for others, normalizing their work in more fields of employment. She said it was great to see women entering more male-dominated fields at a time where the demand is so high. In fact, she said employers are asking TSTC to help fill more jobs than they have students, especially in the welding field.