By SHERI GASSAWAY
In 2018, Delicia Simpson was working as a receptionist at a car dealership making $10 an hour.
“I was struggling to see how I’m going to pay my next bill,” she said. “I knew I wanted better.”
Today, Simpson is a fourth-term Laborers Local 110 apprentice at Tarlton Corporation. She is grateful to have a new career that allows her to be able to take care of herself and her family without having to depend on others.
She recently shared her journey into the trades with the University of Missouri Extension and Engagement Office in a YouTube video celebrating Extension and Engagement Week, which was focused on workforce development.
HOW IT BEGAN
Hoping to make a change, Simpson attended a job fair at Chaifetz Arena where Laborers Local 110 had a booth.
“There was a sign that said ‘Laborers’ and I saw how much a laborer made a year,” Simpson said. “There was a female standing there so I asked what is a laborer. She explained what they do and told me that they needed more females in the field.”
She then met Local 110 President Ronny Griffin and Josh Wright, of the Laborers Training Center. She became a member of Local 110 in June 2018.
A FAMILY VACATION
A month later, after she received her first “couple of big paychecks,” she bought her mom, who’d never been on a plane, a plane ticket to Austin, Texas.
“I took her, my brother and my dad and paid for everything while we were there,” Simpson said. “It just made me feel good because they’re getting an experience I gave them, and I was happy to do it.”
Simpson, a recipient of the AGC of Missouri Education Foundation Scholarship, is currently enrolled in Construction Craft at the Laborers & Contractors Training Center in High Hill, Mo.
She is active in her union and recently took part in a lit drop in Jefferson County for fellow Laborers Local 110 member Terry Burgess, who was running for the 113th District House seat.
ENCOURAGES WOMEN TO SEEK CAREERS IN THE TRADES
In a recent interview with the Labor Tribune, Simpson, 36, said she encourages women to seek careers in the trades. She said college isn’t for everyone, but the trades offer free training, great pay and awesome benefits.
“I work hard,” she said. “I come in every day and when I go home at night, I’m tired, but I’m tired for the right reason.”
To see the full video, visit the University of Missouri Extension and Engagement YouTube channel.