Meet Angelica Ramos, Apprentice Limited Energy Electrician

Meet Angelica Ramos, Apprentice Limited Energy Electrician

Angelica Ramos is a single mom, with two children age 4 and 14. Before pursuing an apprenticeship, she had been working in low-wage, dead-end jobs. She had taken three years of college, but had to drop out when her youngest was born.

Now she is following in the footsteps of her brother, pursuing a career as an electrician, thanks to the pre-apprenticeship program at Oregon Tradeswoman. “If it wasn’t for Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.’s pre-apprenticeship class, I don’t think I would have gotten in. The hands-on experience in class gave me what I needed to get down and dirty, pick up the tools and build stuff. I am learning something new every day. I can set an example for my kids and have more opportunity to provide for their future.”

She worked hard in the Oregon Tradeswoman pre-apprenticeship program to prepare, developing a solid transportation and child care plan, and learning as much as she could about the electrical industry. “I wanted a career that would challenge me both intellectually and physically,” Angelica said. She studied math in preparation for the Electrical Apprenticeship aptitude test and practiced her interviewing skills. During class her instructors commented that they were impressed with her leadership ability, her work ethic, and her ability to be positive, cooperative and engaged.

Right after graduating from the pre-apprenticeship program, Angelica applied for the Electrical Apprenticeship, and various electrical supply houses. She was hired by Platt Electric Supply in February 2008 to work in their warehouse, where she received glowing reviews from her supervisor. In April 2008, Angelica was selected as an Electrical Apprentice, where she began working for Dynalectric on May 1, 2008.

Photo Credit: Pac/West

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Tool Box for Success

Do you have the tools you need to succeed in construction?
  • Attach yourself to a journey-worker on the job site and learn from them
  • Focus to get ahead if you want to stay in the field
  • Don’t take anything personally
  • Be good at your job
  • Work up your physical strength
  • Realize that there are no short-cuts
  • Enjoy the experience
  • Make friends with everyone
  • Go with the flow
  • Have a thick skin
  • Know who you are
  • Employ good time-management skills and good listening skills
  • Have a good learning attitude
  • Know that you are the competition
  • Don’t give up
  • Study hard at school
  • Be ready for a lot of work
  • Listen to what the foreman is saying
  • Learn how to take orders well
  • Learn how to take initiative
  • Be detail-oriented but do the job fast at the same time
  • Maintain good communication and ask questions
  • Know your stuff!
  • Be physical, work out
  • Work harder than everybody else, don’t talk a lot, pay attention, show up on time, be dependable and don't phone in sick unless you absolutely need to!
  • Have fun!!
Barriers to employment for women in construction

Although this list is not all-inclusive, it was included to give an indication of the kinds of barriers some women will face, and overcome.
  • Biased or discriminatory hiring practices
  • Stereotypical perceptions of women's abilities
  • Isolation of women in male-dominated worksites
  • Unequal pay for women performing similar jobs as male co-workers
  • Various forms of harassment (CLMPC, 1990; SPR Associates, 2002A; Grzetic, 1998;)
  • There is a lack of diversity training among co-workers, including clarity around the issue of employment equity. (WITT-NN, 1999)
  • Social isolation
  • Lack of education and fundamental skills
  • Lack of informal mentors to develop an interest in the trades
  • Lack of management / supervisor leadership in setting an appropriate tone in terms of acceptance of women in male-dominated workplaces. WITT-Alberta, 2000)
  • Physical Strength Limitations
  • Stereotypes / Sexism / Perception of women on job site
  • Lack of information available about trades as a career option
  • Lack of daycare/difficulty with work / life balance
Getting around Barriers

  • Recognize the friendly faces at your jobsite
  • Dress appropriately for the trade
  • Identify something your company does a lot of and get good at it
  • Use common sense
  • Find a mentor
  • Become good at job hunting
  • Network
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