Plumbing is one of those trades, like construction or even being a CEO, that used to be seen as only a male-oriented job. That’s no longer the case, and female students at Victoria College’s Liberty Street Industrial Training Center in Victoria, Texas, are proving that.
When the first day of Plumbing Level I arrived, Dulce Hernandez was worried that she “was going to be the only woman taking this class.” She was relieved to find that wasn’t the case. Hernandez, at the encouragement of her boss, decided to take the course in order to fulfill some of her certification requirements to become an inspector for the city of Yoakum. Rebecca Valderrama, one of the other two female students aside from Hernandez, had similar concerns when she first showed up: “I felt a little overwhelmed when I first walked in.” She was taking this course to learn how to do plumbing repairs on her own, since she had just purchased her first home. “It’s great to learn these skills,” Valderrama assured.
Having only three women in this course is not uncommon; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, their data shows that merely 2.2% of the total 600,000 plumbers in the United States are female, as of 2017. That’s up from the 1.5% of 553,000 plumbers as recorded in 2010.
Instructor Bobby Stevens, a certified responsible master plumber and business owner, ensures that all of his students receive hands-on training. Whether they “want to learn how they can save money at the house, or they may want to begin a career in this profession…there is quite a demand for plumbers in this area,” he attests. Victoria College also offers other professional training courses, such as welding, scaffolding, electrical, and more.
From 2010 to 2017, the number of female plumbers has risen from approximately 8,295 to 13,200, showing the growing amount of not only plumbers by trade, but also female plumbers. This goes to show that times are continuing to change rapidly, and no matter your reason or your background, anyone can accomplish anything.