Local News

3/23/2013

Career event tackles gender roles

By SARAH LUNDGREN The Brunswick News

Altamaha Technical College is taking the term "Ladies' Night Out" to a whole new level on Monday at the Golden Isles Career Academy in Brunswick.

The college will introduce women to opportunities in non-traditional career fields from 6 to 8 p.m.

From commercial truck driving to computer information technology, Scott Traficante, an automotive technology instructor at the college, says it's no longer a man's world.

"Women actually have the greatest opportunities in this field today, not only because there is such a shortage of qualified women in the field but because the high demand for computer and computer diagnostic skills is something that women have statistically shown higher than average abilities in," he said. "Most dealers will jump at the chance to hire a qualified, top-notch female diagnostic technician."

Speakers will talk on a variety of subjects - automotive technology, commercial truck driving, industrial systems technology, welding and culinary arts. Specific programs to the college itself will also be featured, including HVAC, Criminal Justice and Computer Information Systems.

In many of the fields, women make up less than 25 percent of the workforce, said Melinda Lager, the technical school's community relations director. The percentage often leads to an increased demand for gender equality from employers.

"Believe it or not, there's generally a demand. If there are women who are willing to get out there and do the work, they can really excel," she said. "We had a perspective student walk in just the other day and her father had been a welder for years. He'd said to her that 'if you want a good career path and a skill you can always utilize, think about welding.'"

Lager says many women who are looking for a new career or a way to reinvent themselves can find a great opportunity - and usually a good salary - in a non-traditional career.

Altamaha Technical College has always had a goal of encouraging people to try something new, Lager says, but this is its first attempt at offering a special night for women.

"We've even added a 'lending library' for students in the non-traditional career fields, trying to encourage those students," she said.

"The truth is that there are a lot of people right now that are looking to find that new career, but they're not necessarily looking out of the box. This is an opportunity for that."

Financial aid counselors will be available to discuss scholarship, grant and tuition assistance. .

* Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at slundgren@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322.