CNM students highlight progress in representation in skilled trades

CNM to host New Mexico Women in Trades Summit

The third annual Women in Trades Summit starts Friday at 9 a.m. with a lineup of industry experts, guest speakers, and activities highlighting the emerging trend in trades.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Across the U.S., including here in New Mexico, more people are pursuing a skilled trades career.

That includes electricians, plumbers, auto mechanics, welders and carpenters.

These fields have mostly been male-dominated so Central New Mexico Community College – CNM – is trying to recruit more women to these fields.

“Traditionally, women are told that we can’t have the career and the family but trades offers that opportunity actually,” CNM student Tallis Geohegan-Freifeld said.

“We want to change the environment. It’s always been a male-based environment. I feel like women have more of a voice now. They’ve always had the skill. They just didn’t know they had it,” student Brianna Lewis said.

Geohegan-Freifeld and Lewis are two of many women in the CNM trades program.

“I was kind of nervous at first, not because I am a female but because of my age. So, it was really comforting to see other females out here, getting dirty, getting under cars and learning,” student Andrea Ortiz said.

Over the years, the skilled trades program has only grown at CNM with more women enrolling.

“We have seen an increase in our enrollment since the 2012-2013 academic year. We have an approximate 14% increase of female students in our trades programs,” said Sharon Gordon-Moffett, the dean for the School of Skilled Trades and Arts at CNM.

CNM is hosting its third annual Women in Trades Summit from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. The summit will have a number of industry leaders and guest speakers talking to women interested in getting into these types of jobs – regardless of age or background.

“This is a high-demand field. High-demand jobs, so this an opportunity for CNM to support women in trades,” Gordon-Moffett said.

The summit is completely free to attend. It is at the Smith Brasher Hall at CNM’s main campus. Click here to learn more.