Embarking on a New Journey

In a male-dominated industry, DCSEU Workforce Development Program extern Shannon Williams found a pathway to pursue a new dream.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, just 2.2 percent of all electricians in the United States are female. That did not stop Shannon Williams from beginning to pursue her dream of becoming a journeyman electrician, and eventually a master electrician.

Ms. Williams came into the DCSEU Workforce Development Program with a certificate in building maintenance, but she believed becoming an electrician would offer more opportunities to expand her career. As a single mother of two, that would also mean more opportunities for her family. The DCSEU Workforce Development Program offered her that opportunity with an externship with the electrical contracting firm, Savage Technical Services. During her externship, Ms. Williams worked with master electricians in the field and learned about small contracting firm operations. As part of the program, Shannon's training focused on incorporating green building knowledge and energy efficiency best practices into her learning. Meanwhile, the DCSEU mentored her career development with mock interviews, resume writing assistance, and tutorials on elevating interpersonal skills.

“I never really saw myself doing this,” said Ms. Williams. “This opened a whole other side of me that I never really knew about. It taught me to believe in myself. The Workforce Development Program gave me the opportunity to embark on a whole different experience.”

Upon completion of the six-month program, Savage Technical Services hired Ms. Williams as a full-time electrician’s helper. She is currently an apprentice in that position, and working toward achieving her journeyman electrician license and eventually, her master electrician license. Her experience through the DCSEU Workforce Development Program not only helped to build a strong foundation for her longterm career path, it also gave her a solid knowledge of energy efficiency best practices to carry forward into her work.

“Now I want to start my own construction business…I realize these are really attainable dreams,” said Ms. Williams. “The Workforce Development Program was really an empowering experience and opened my eyes to all of the things that I’m capable of really doing.”

Blog Categories:

green jobs, sustainable dc, success story

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Ben Burdick
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