MAINE, USA — After graduating from high school, many students look into other options rather than attending college. Programs like apprenticeships can be a great option for those wanting to pursue a career in trades.
The Maine Department of Labor runs its own apprenticeship program, and folks running the program know it can be a great way for students to get "on-the-job" training while also earning a living.
The program offers apprenticeships in many different fields such as architecture, engineering, art, design, and more. But recently, the program has been focused on encouraging young women who may be on the fence about pursuing a career in construction.
According to the National Association of Women in Construction, only 9.9 percent of women make up the construction workforce in the country.
After the program received over $12 million dollars from the Gov. Janet Mill's Jobs and Recovery Plan, it has been using that money to reach out to young women through high schools or events.
A few weeks ago, the program attended an event in Bath to connect with young women about apprenticeships.
In addition, the program works with multiple sponsors to employ students, all of which are chosen by the Department of Labor with engaging women in mind.
Director of Apprentices Joan Dolan said a big portion is breaking down barriers in historically male-dominated fields.
"I don't know that women have had [the] same sort of role-modeling," Dolan said. "I think in sports we've made huge gains, I think in the workforce we've made huge gains, and I think it's because of the leaders that went before us that opened up those doors. And I think we're starting to have those women leaders in the construction sector as well."