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DC 57’s Women Workers Break Down Barriers for Girls in the Trades

Kenzie with Bernie Wagner of Norco Painting

Before becoming a drywall finisher, 25-year-old Kenzie Hauger was paying for college out-of-pocket to eventually become a state trooper. Once she realized the amount of debt she’d face upon graduation, she went back to her roots of working in construction.

Kenzie worked a non-union construction job beginning at the age of 16. She was working 12-hour days without overtime pay. She had no money coming in and no insurance. Coming from a union family, she thought of a solution – getting back into the trades the union way.

Within about 2 weeks of applying to DC 57, she got into the apprenticeship program and landed her first union job, which allowed her a normal work-life balance for the first time. Today, her favorite part of her job is restoring historic structures. She loves the creative and artistic challenge and the reward of seeing these buildings returned to their former glory.

As a DC 57 member, Kenzie’s been visiting middle schools to share DC 57’s apprenticeship opportunities with girls. Once the girls learn about career opportunities in the trades, they’re more likely to think about it as a meaningful alternative for the traditional and often expensive college route. She notices how artistic and detail-oriented girls can be, which makes them prime candidates for a career in the finishing trades once they graduate high school.

Kenzie’s advice to prospective finishing trades workers? “Be determined to succeed. Be open minded every day, and come to work every day ready to let others teach you things and correct you. You have to learn from your mistakes. You don’t have to be perfect, but you have to do your best.”

DC 57 Holiday party schedule

Retirees’ Christmas Party: Tuesday, December 5th at 11:00am (exec board meets at 10:30am) at IUPAT DC 57 Union Hall (101 Ewing Rd, Carnegie)

LU 6, 479, 751, and 2006:  Tuesday, December 12th at 7:00pm at the White Oak Athletic Association (Lower Heckman Rd, McKeesport)

LU 409: Thursday, December 14th at 7:00pm at the Castle Pub (122 N Center St, Ebensburg)

LU 530: Friday, December 15th at 7:00pm at the IBEW 712 Hall (217 Sassafras Ln, Beaver)

LU 549:  Saturday, December 9th  from 1:00-4:00pm at Lefty’s Bar (1248 Brown Ave, Erie)