By SHERI GASSAWAY
About 10 years ago, Aly Martinez found herself back in the job market after going through a divorce. But without a college degree, her options were limited.
A friend’s brother suggested she consider an “unconventional” career in the trades. Growing up, Aly often went on side jobs with her dad and learned how to use tools.
After doing some research, she applied for an apprenticeship at IBEW Local 613 in Atlanta and was accepted into the program.
‘ENJOY MY WORK’
“I was pretty handy around the house, but I never thought I would get into a career like this,” Aly said. “To be honest, I was afraid of working in the electrical industry. But once I got into the program, I was just amazed. I really enjoy my work.”
In 2014, Aly moved to the St. Louis area and joined IBEW Local 1. Today, she’s a night instructor at the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center and teaches conduit bending.
FOLLOWING IN HER FOOTSTEPS
In 2019, Aly’s daughter Trinity was accepted into the IBEW Local 1 apprenticeship program. She says her mom’s success as a union electrician and love of her career prompted her to follow in her mom’s footsteps.
“I know if I put in the time, I’ll be making good money and have good benefits,” she said. “Plus, it’s a lot of fun, and I love the brotherhood. Some of the best people you meet are those working with you on the jobsite.”
‘YOU CAN DO IT’
Aly and her daughter both have the same advice for women considering careers in the trades: “You can do it.”
And to help spread that message, Aly has joined the executive board of Missouri Women in Trades (MOWIT), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women enter and succeed in careers in the union building trades.
MOWIT provides mentoring, support group meetings, job information and referrals. For more information, visit mowit.org.