Wanted: women to work in jobs that typically go to men

Published: Jun. 14, 2017 at 4:58 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2017 at 2:41 PM EDT
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(NPN) - More men-driven industries are now recruiting women in an effort to diversify workforces such as welding and truck driving.

Adrienne Donato is one ironworker who has made a successful career for herself.

"I love physical work," Donato said.

You may find her 30 feet above the ground some days, welding and using a hand-held jackhammer. She even worked for the same company through two pregnancies.

"They were very supportive," Donato said.

Ironworkers are just one of many fields, now trying to recruit women. The industry just announced a new paid maternity benefit.

"They're going to make good money, but they're going to have great benefits to go along with it," Vicki O'Leary with Ironworkers International said. "So, they'll have that health insurance and a pension plan."

The trucking industry says there's a shortage of drivers, so driver Jodi Edwards and the Women in Trucking Association are changing that. They created a Girl Scout patch to show trucking isn't just for men, and Jodi is now part of her company's recruiting campaign.

"They are trying to tap what is potentially an untapped field of employees, and that's women," Edwards said. "They can come and have a normal day job and they can go home at night."

The International Training Institute says the number of women in its sheet metal apprenticeship program has doubled in two years, and the Automotive Women's Alliance Foundation offers scholarships.

"It's good to be able to show that they have a diverse workforce, whether that helps them to win business or show legitimacy in the markets that they're serving," Assistant Professor of Management Beth K. Humberd, Ph.D. said.

Research shows gender diversity in the workplace can lead to higher profits and productivity. Plus, Dr. Humberd says industries need to attract young people.

"We're seeing the retiring baby boomers that were perhaps a more prominent part of the workforce in these trades, occupations, we're seeing them leaving that workforce," Dr. Humberd said.

Donato went to a four-year college and found, for her, hands-on was not working behind a desk. She is now proud to lead the way for other women ironworkers.

"I like that it changes all the time," Donato said. "You're with different people all the time, so you don't have that monotony of being in an office."

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