A Spark of Inspiration: Women in Trades

Women in trades currently represent a small percentage of the workforce. As the skilled trade job market is projected to grow by 8.4 million jobs by 2029, there are numerous opportunities for women to start or grow a career in the skilled trades industry.

Written by Ashleen Brydum

With the proper training and a spark of inspiration, the sky is the limit for women entering the industry. Here’s a compilation of a few women who have already left their mark on the industry, will you be the next one to join them?

Joey Wat – Business Management

Joey Wat had humble beginnings in China. She worked in a plastic flower factory as a child but eventually grew into the CEO of China’s largest restaurant company. Wat leads Yum China, a company operating over 10,000 restaurants around the country.

Wat gained her success by leading through tough situations, and never losing sight of her philosophy that if you take care of the employees, they will take care of the customers. Prior to her role at Yum, Wat took on the role of Managing Director at Savers, a struggling beauty chain in the UK. Her perseverance and commitment to ensuring thousands of people did not lose their jobs motivated her to turn the company around. Later, when the pandemic hit, Wat lead the initiative for Yum China to donate and deliver free meals to over 4,000 staff at 1,500 hospitals nation-wide. Wat is not only skilled at managing businesses, she leads with her heart, and it does not go unrecognized. Wat has been listed on multiple “top” lists including: Forbes World’s Most Powerful Women, Fortune Magazine’s Top 25 China Most Powerful Women in Business, the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in International Business, and Business Insiders 100 People Transforming Business Asia. Wat is certainly a leader worthy of the praise, and all women in trades can aspire to be a little more like her.

Medical Assisting – Maria Montessori

An old-time black and white photo of Maria Montessori, one of the famous medical assistants, and an early woman in trade
Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2014694934/)

Many know of Maria Montessori for her teaching methodology and the now prevalent Montessori schools. Maria actually came from a medical background, and early in her career was a medical assistant.

At the young age of 13, Maria started off at a technical school, and graduated with high honors. She then went on to further her medical studies at University. While at University, as they would not women in the medical program, Maria studied physics, mathematics, and natural sciences. She also took on a job as a medical assistant. After impressing the all-male review board with her thesis, Maria was awarded a Doctor of Medicine Degree and became a surgical assistant at the same hospital she had been doing her medical assisting. She went on to develop her teaching methodology and change the landscape of early childhood education.

Maria Montessori was a pioneer in many ways, not just for women in trades, but for education and equal acce

ss. She serves as a reminder that if one is curious and passionate, they can accomplish and create anything they want to.

Pa’Trice Frazier – Welding

Pa’Trice Frazier realized she was a “loch ness monster” of sorts when it came to her field. As there are not many women in trades, and even less Black women, she realized that she was unique in her field. After obtaining countless welding certifications, Frazier took her knowledge and unique talent and put it to work. While still utilizing her welding skills, Frazier has also used her talents to become a motivational speaker. She hopes to inspire other women to take up welding as she believes women are uniquely situated to become master welders. Frazier’s tenacity, drive, and unique perspective on life make her a great role-model for other women as they look to enter the world of trades.

Alice H. Parker – HVAC

A black and white drawing of Alice H. Parker's Patented Heating system
Source: US Patent Database (https://patentimages.storage .googleapis.com /60/2a/3d/ 3177ea24e445aa/US1325905.pdf)

Alice H. Parker defied odds and made significant contributions to the world of HVAC. Born in 1895 in New Jersey, not much is known about her life. She received a certificate from Howard University Academy in 1910 and soon started looking at ways to better the environment around her. One day, Parker was observing her fireplace, and decided she wanted a better way to warm her house. Parker ended up inventing and patenting a system of central heating using natural gas in 1919. This discovery influenced the way modern HVAC systems work, as it laid the groundwork for natural gas and ducts to be used in heating different areas. It also marked one of the early times in history a Black woman was granted a US patent. Parker’s work was significant for the world of HVAC and for all women in trades. We are proud to celebrate her this Women’s History Month.

About Centura College

Centura College has been part of an organization dedicated to helping men and women develop careers since 1969. By training working adults in healthcare, technology, business, and trades, they connect communities with some of the fastest growing career fields in today’s marketplace. The school offers professional facilities, knowledgeable instructors, day or evening classes, job placement assistance and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). To learn more, visit www.CenturaCollege.edu or like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/centura.edu

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