By Rokeeda Fernandes, GETS Graduate
I heard about Women Build at a recruitment meeting with Alameda County about the trade unions and their local hiring requirements. I was given a flyer by Susie from Tradeswomen Inc. There was another program that I was interested in joining for both men and women, that was considered to be more military-styled. I was preparing to go to their orientation when I called Melvin, the GETS Case Manager, to find out more information about the program, but I didn’t reach him. As I entered my class, the instructor made an announcement that we would receive a presentation from a man from Rising Sun named Melvin. That was my first sign that Women Build was meant to be.
From my first day at Rising Sun and all the way through the 8-week program, my experience has been nothing short of amazing. The staff and other program participants are an incredible group of people. I was hesitant to join an all women’s cohort, but I am glad I joined and stayed until the end. I am a reserved person and don’t easily open up to people, but in my own way, I have made connections with some really intelligent and cool women.
Women Build has been quite a journey and I have loved every bit of it. This was the first time I ever enjoyed a school setting and was enthused about coming, even on days when I didn’t feel good. The positive vibes (that I’m big on) were very comforting and inspiring. I have gained strong clarity about where I want to go with my career and I am proud of myself for staying focused throughout the entirety of the program, largely due to the support of my classmates.
I am well into my second week at a carpenters training center and it is hard core but fun. I am 100% going to become a carpenter. I am very creative and handy, and I have always had a lot of interest in building and remodeling things. Now that I am a mother, I am happy to be starting a career as a union carpenter and that I will be able to provide for my daughter.
I am looking forward to my future in the trades and I’m even more excited about being able to come back and tell my story, just like the amazing women before us have done.