In honor of Women in Construction Week 2020, OlympiaTech is proud to feature a few of our female crew members. Today’s feature is on Jenna Johnston. Jenna completed her electrical apprenticeship program with OlympiaTech and is now working as a journeywoman. Here is what Jenna has to say about her experience working in the construction industry.
- Why did you choose a career in construction?
The reason I decided to become an electrician is because from the earliest time I can remember, I’ve enjoyed taking things apart, building, fixing things, and learning how they work. I would spend hours in the garage with my dad fixing and inventing things. It’s something I’ve always been interested in and now as an electrician I get to do that every day as my career.
- What is the biggest challenge of being a woman in construction?
There are a lot of challenges being a woman in a predominately male dominated industry, but I would have to say the biggest one is realizing that there is a place for everyone in this industry. No, I’m not as big or as strong as the men on my job sites, but I can fit into small spaces to work and I can get my hands in places when other people can’t. There’s a balance. Everyone has their place and as long as you’re confident and work as a team you will be successful.
- What’s your favorite part of your job?
I really love troubleshooting. When something doesn’t work and you get to figure out why and fix it, I find that really rewarding. I would also have to say that I really love my coworkers and the atmosphere on the job sites.
- What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on and why?
My favorite project was probably the conversion of the old Pillsbury A-Mill into artist lofts. It was really cool to see something historical repurposed into something so beautiful and new.
- What advice would you give someone just starting out on the path to becoming an electrician?
I would have to say keep your head up. It’s a lot of work getting through school and apprenticeship. It can be tough being a woman in the trades but as long as you have determination and self-confidence it is an extremely rewarding profession.
- What is your ultimate career goal?
I want to set a good example for other women trying to come into the trades to show them that they can have a career in this industry. I also hope to be able to pass on what I’ve learned to new apprentices and to help them to become knowledgeable, confident electricians.
Women in Construction Week (WIC Week) was formalized by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and presents an opportunity to highlight the contributions of women in the construction industry. WIC Week also provides an opportunity for NAWIC members throughout the country to raise awareness of the many career paths and opportunities available for women in the industry. To learn more about NAWIC and WIC Week, visit www.nawic.org.