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Female enrollment rises in traditionally male-centric trade programs

Despite being counseled to take AP classes instead, Sarah Alessi, a student at Shoreham-Wading River High School, signs up for the new electrical trade program at the Harry B. Ward Technical Center of the Long Island Academy of Applied Technology in Riverhead, becoming The only girl in the class.

This represents a trend occurring at the center as more girls are enrolling in traditionally male-dominated trade programs this year.

There has been an increase in interest in commercial programs in general, said Mary Davis, director of the Ward Technical Center, citing an increase of 80 students in the building alone.

The Electric Trade category is new to the center this year and has been introduced due to huge demand. Ms Davis said there were about 30 students on the class waiting list.

However, female students do enroll in classes such as HVAC, robotic body, automotive technology and electrical trading, Ms. Davies said.

“Last year, we’ve had a few females in our automotive technology program, the other programs, and having females there is a new species,” she said.

According to Ms. Davis, this year six girls are enrolled in those different courses, many of whom are the only girls in their class.

Sarah has no difficulty being the only girl in her electrical trade class, learning how to install lights and ceiling fans.

“It’s harder to be left-handed in this class than to be a girl,” she said.

Sarah aspires to be an electrical engineer with a focus on sustainable energy. It encourages more women and girls to be brave and explore their interests, even if they are unconventional. “Even if you don’t like it, try it out so you don’t wonder what it will look like,” she said.

This is the first year he has had a female student in an HVAC class, said Christopher Jebat, HVAC teacher. He attributes the growing interest in the trade to women in the field who are already doing the work. “I think that might be why we started seeing that inside the classroom and [career and technical education] The programs are because all of these women who are already there, kind of pave the way,” said Mr. Jabat. He said, “It is to open someone’s eyes as a young lady to be able to see someone who is already doing that and realize that they can do it where maybe in the past They didn’t even think it was an option.”

Ms. Davis hopes this trend will continue to inspire more women to pursue their interests and she commends the young women who take these courses.

“All students should have the opportunity to enroll in classes that match their interests,” said Ms. Davis. “We are very proud of these young women for their courage to join a non-traditional program, so we hope this will encourage other females to do the same,” she said.


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