iStock_000014918392XLargesmallBy Ashley Rooker, Electrical Apprentice at Gaylor Electric This June, I was hired on as an electrical apprentice at Gaylor Electric in Noblesville, Ind. After completing the four-year apprenticeship program, I plan on becoming a manager. However, becoming an electrician was not what I originally planned to be. My journey into construction began when I was in high school. I enrolled in a few introductory engineering classes that focused on construction and architecture. While I presumed there would be an abundance of men in the classes, to my surprise, there were actually a lot of women! It was in these classes that I was introduced to the ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) Mentor Program. The program included various activities, projects and field trips for us to participate in. One project I was a part of involved having a professional mentor us for a competition in which we selected a remodel for a Ronald McDonald House. After graduating from high school, I attended Ball State University in Indiana and began to take architecture classes. Since I had visited several architecture firms when I was in ACE, I thought it would be a career that I would enjoy. However, after taking classes, I quickly learned that it wasn’t meant for me. From there, I began to expand my search for other academic programs and possible career paths. Soon after, I was introduced to the construction management program at Ball State. The first event that I heard of on campus was one hosted by a construction student organization, so I decided to attend. It was then that I decided that construction was where I wanted to be. Our construction program hosted a career fair each year, and one year I gave my resume to Gaylor Electric. I ended up getting two back-to-back field internships at Gaylor Electric followed by a job offer that I received this summer. I look forward to making a difference in the industry. I want to encourage more women to come into construction knowing that they have the resources and support from other women, such as myself. I also plan on getting involved within my company and the ACE Mentor Program to spread the message that construction is a great career choice for women. Last week, I was privileged to speak during NCCER’s presentation, “The Time is Right for Women to Take the Lead” at the National Association of Women in Construction’s 59th Annual Meeting and Education Conference in Indianapolis. The conference celebrated the unlimited possibilities within the construction industry, the Association and among women. The more women we can recruit into the industry, the more of an impact we can make.

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NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.