Danielle loves her career as a plumber and enthusiastically encourages other women to consider the trade as well.
“If you are mechanically inclined or enjoy working with your hands or know a desk job or retail is not for you, give it a try. It might be your new passion!” said Danielle.
Danielle started a union apprenticeship program to become a plumber when she was 22, after working odd jobs and realizing a traditional college experience was not for her. Five years later she graduated the apprenticeship program and became a licensed journeyworker plumber.
“Having a license means I have a retirement plan, a healthcare plan, I’m financially secure and independent. Really grateful to have landed where I am,” said Danielle. “It feels really good to be 27 and have no student debt, have health care and a good job.”
Danielle says most days she doesn’t think about being one the few female plumbers around. She says she’s heard stories from older women plumbers who have gone before her who said it was very difficult a generation or two ago. Danielle says that sexism isn’t overt anymore, instead sometimes she is underestimated because she is a woman. And it can still be intimidating for women to train for and join a male-dominated field.
Danielle takes part in a monthly gathering with women plumbing apprentices and journeyworkers where they encourage one another and talk through concerns.
Danielle is also a bit of a plumbing evangelizer, handing out her card at gas stations to people who ask, ‘hey are you a plumber? How did you become one?’
“It’s just a great career not just plumbing but any trade it just affords you so much opportunity,” said Danielle. “The money is great and the benefits are great and you are surrounded by your colleagues in the union.”
You can talk with CareerForce staff at a location near you about applying to become a plumber apprentice or exploring other trades apprenticeship opportunities.