- Features | March 26, 2020
Filling the Void - IEC Dallas Hits a Record High with Female Apprentices
Diversity is a subject that IEC is exploring. We want to increase the number of women interested in the electrical industry. The number of female electricians is increasing at an exceptionally slow pace and we want to do our part to make a positive change. In 2018, 97% of all electricians were male and less than 3% were women according to Data USA. This increased from the 2009 census data where women held less than 1% of all electrician jobs. The time is now to attract females to the electrical industry, as women make up the majority of the US labor force.
We have started paving the way with our first female president of the association, Candy Branham of Branham Electric in St. Peters, MO. We are looking forward to seeing how IEC will thrive under her leadership. We are also supporting the new generation of electricians with our Emerging Leaders program, a program that provides a number of courses and programs to the next generation of leaders.
IEC Dallas has hit an all-time high with increased enrollment of women in their apprenticeship program this past school year. IEC Dallas is proud to be part of the effort to attract women to the electrical industry. This semester alone, IEC Dallas enrolled 23 female apprentices. For the chapter’s second and third-year apprentices, retention rate is at 100%. When asked, Jerry Thomas, Executive Director, says, “word of mouth advertising helped boost our enrollment of women this year.” IEC Dallas encouraged all of their apprentices to invite other women they know and/or work with to consider the apprenticeship program.
As a way to support these female apprentices, IEC Dallas has created a mentorship program. The goal of the mentorship program is to provide a sounding board and a safe place to voice any concerns, including workplace issues such as threats, or harassment. The female apprentices also receive tutoring if they are having any difficulties with the coursework. IEC Dallas is fortunate to receive support of this mentoring program by having contractors’ spouses and alumni who are willing to mentor the female apprentices. Although IEC Dallas strives to increase the female population, all services are available for all apprentices.
IEC Dallas has also made it a point to reflect the diversity of the industry by the staff it employs. You see female support staff and instructors such as one of their graduates, Kelly Mattingly, who teaches their first-year curriculum. It’s always helpful when someone can see themselves in the industry already.
Going forward, IEC Dallas will continue to emphasize successes of women in the electrical industry who have forged great careers for themselves and rely on the wonderful women in their community to continue spreading the word about the apprenticeship program.
To learn more about IEC Dallas, visit iecdallas.com.
Luisa Reyes is the Chapter Development Manager for IEC National.