Breaking Barriers in a Nontraditional Career

Over the last several years, Wilson Community College has seen an increase in enrollments in nontraditional career paths.

Nontraditional careers are jobs that have been traditionally filled by one specific gender. Teachers and nurses are occupations that are often associated with women, while construction, automotive, welding, and applied engineering are jobs that are traditionally held by men. But occupations are not gender specific, and old stereotypes are no longer the norm. Plenty of men are teachers and nurses, and more and more women are entering the trades and engineering.

At WCC, we currently have women enrolled in almost all of our trades programs and applied engineering program.  And it’s not uncommon for us to have female cadets in our police and fire academies, and men in our nursing programs.  In fact, it’s almost the norm now, and we are thrilled to see it.

I asked many of our female students in these programs to speak on their experience in the program, and what their future plans are once they graduate.

Welding student Evelyn Tovar – who also happens to be the friendly smiling face in some of our ads right now – shared, “I chose welding after scrolling through TikTok and seeing a video of a welder that interested me. So, I did my research and decided to give it a try and found out that Wilson Community College has a welding program. At first, I was somewhat intimidated because in the welding field, the majority of the workers are men, and when I first started my classes, I was the only girl. A couple of semesters in, I have grown a great interest in welding. I truly love cutting, burning, and building things with metal. I decided to continue and finish this program because I want to show that a woman can also work as hard and work in a field that not many women work in. My favorite part is the projects. In TIG class, we had to build something that was geometrical. I ended up building a chicken. I was really proud of myself, and I ended up giving it to my mom. Now that little project that I created is sitting in her garden.”

Sade Bentley is a Building Construction Technology student. She really wants to master using power tools and learn things about construction so that she can remodel her house on her own.  Sade is a veteran of the Army and lives here in Wilson.

Mikaela Taylor is pursuing a degree in Automotive Systems Technology.  She said, “my goal is to retain knowledge from this program and apply it to my career path. I desire to be a confident technician and strive to get the repair right – the first time!  I appreciate the hands-on training we receive from this program and how learning is more on a one-on-one basis. We might not be able to get that experience at a four-year institution.”

And Applied Engineering student Jakeyah Station chose the program because she enjoys building circuits, drawing schematics, programming, and troubleshooting. At a young age, she had an interest in building Lego robots and programming them to do a task, like picking up a block or moving a box from one location to another.  When she graduates, she hopes to expand her knowledge by helping her fellow engineers at work with programs for the machines they use and the schematics used to analyze each part they make. Jakeyah said she loves the hands-on learning piece of the program, that the professors are very understanding, and that the students have the opportunity to earn engineering certifications.

Our students have some great spaces to learn their trade.  In the last few years, our welding lab was renovated into a larger space with new equipment, and it’s now a state-of-the-art facility.  Our applied engineering and automotive programs are housed at our Lee Technology Center, in the former Nissan and Ford buildings, respectively.  The property was donated to the Foundation several years ago by the Lee Family of Lee Motor Group – and we could not be more thankful because it’s afforded us the opportunity to build these programs up and increase access for our students.  Not to mention the equipment we have is impressive, too, thanks to donations from industries, grants, and state funding. And in August of this year, our newest building at Lee Technology Center will be completed.  It will be home to our Building Construction Technology, Electrical, and HVAC programs.

All of these programs fall under the Industrial Technologies department.  In this area, women may find opportunities for greater empowerment, advancement, and career and financial stability.  Women in non-traditional job roles take on occupations that will sometimes require a little more grit and perseverance.  We can’t wait to see what they do in the future and to teach more students like them.

Choosing a career that matches your strengths and interests will allow you to experience greater job satisfaction, and a nontraditional career path might be the right choice for you.

Registration ramps back up on April 3 for summer and fall courses.  For more information about any of our programs, give us a call at (252) 291-1195, or visit our website at #WilsonCC We make Wilson work.

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April 3 – First Day of Registration for Spring and Fall Semesters

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Severe Weather Alert

Due to the threat of severe weather, the college will be closed on Friday, September 7, 2023.