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More Women Stepping into Construction Jobs & Increasing their Incomes
The construction industry is experiencing a shortage, and women are stepping onto the job site to fulfill the demand. Every day, women are finding the career choice to be a solid foundation for advancing their trade skills and maximizing their incomes.
“When I left my previous job and took the position that I have now, I got a huge raise...a 25% raise,” said Joy Moseley, NWACC Construction Technology alumna and project engineer. Experiencing an increase in income when moving into a construction job is an industry trend. Those with an Associate Degree in Construction Technology can expect to earn an average starting salary of $40,000 or higher.
Joy earned her Associate Degree in Construction Technology in May 2018. Along with her classmate, Maria, she is among the 100% placement trend that NWACC’s Construction Technology Program boasts of thus far and among the 9% of women currently in the construction field.
Like many women, pursuing construction or other skilled trades were never options offered to Joy by her parents or high school advisors.
“Whenever I was in high school, they did not encourage women to do any of the technical jobs at all. My parents wanted me to be a nurse or a doctor, or do something that was kind of safe and a whole lot easier. And late in life, I decided to embark on this career, and I love everything. I get dirty. I get to go hang out with the guys,” she explained.
Joy’s interest in construction developed later in her life. She was balancing a family and two jobs - she ran a house-cleaning business and worked for a commercial flooring company. The flooring business is where she fell in love.
“[I] absolutely fell in love with it - the industry, all of it! Watching things go from dirt to completed buildings and becoming habitant was amazing to me. So, I started in an office there and followed up and was like, ‘What can I do? I need more, I need more!’ and he [manager] was like, ‘You should go to school.’ So that’s kind of what started me on my path,” Joy explained.
Joy decided to enroll in NWACC to fulfill her general education courses and then intended to transfer to a four-year institution, but when she heard of NWACC’s new Construction Technology program, plans changed.
“I got accepted to John Brown University and had planned on starting in the Summer of 2016, or that Fall, and they [NWACC] started this [construction] program and I was just all over it. I could not have been more excited and decided to go this route instead,” she explained.
Joy has no regrets earning her degree at a community college. She found NWACC’s tuition to be affordable, and the small classes and accessible faculty were the ideal learning environment.
“Being a student at NWACC was fantastic for me. I, at a much older age, decided to go back to school and at the same time, learned that I had a learning disability. The teachers were super patient and calm; they took time with me. I could go in and talk to them and tell them when I was having problems and they really helped me excel,” she said. “They want you to succeed here. I’ve been to bigger universities where you’re just kind of a face in the crowd and they don’t even know your name. I see my teachers now and they still know my name, which is amazing.”
After earning her degree, Joy felt confident in her training in construction management, but she had some reservations on entering what tends to be portrayed as a male-dominated industry. “I was afraid that coming into this industry there would be more challenges. I have a ton of cheerleaders, people that want to see me succeed and really go out of their way to make sure that I’m getting the training and support that I need,” she explained.
Joy has excelled in her role as a project engineer and was able to reconnect with NWACC by working on the college’s latest building project – the Integrated Design Lab.
She has no regrets in pursuing her love for construction and investing two years in a higher education at NWACC. “The amount of money and time that I have invested into my education have more than paid off,” Joy said. “The money in construction is fantastic.”
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Visit nwacc.edu or call 479-986-4000 to learn more about choosing a higher education with NWACC.