Women in trades currently represent a small percentage of the workforce. As the skilled trade job market is projected to grow by 8.4 million jobs by 2029, there are numerous opportunities for women to start or grow a career in the skilled trades industry.

Written by Ashleen Brydum

With the proper training and a spark of inspiration, the sky is the limit for women entering the industry. Here’s a compilation of a few women who have already left their mark on the industry, will you be the next one to join them?

Chix Fix – Aviation Maintenance

Chix Fix is an all-female team of competitive Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMTs). The team is made up of AMTs from around the country who work for United Airlines. They came together for the first time in 2018 for the Aerospace Maintenance Competition (AMC). The AMC is known as the Olympics of aerospace tech and truly represents the best of the best. Out of 69 teams, only 3 were made up of all women, and Chix Fix was the only one representing in the commercial category. The Chix had to work together in timed challenges to repair and overhaul any component asked of by the judges. The ladies rocked many of the challenges, placing in numerous categories.

A blue and yellow sign reading

Chix Fix is not only a team of highly talented AMTs, but also a group of ladies representing women in trades in a strong way. Team member Zoe Wainwright speaks about how part of what her team does is get the “…exposure out there that women can do this job, not a lot of people realize that women do this job.” And, that exposure has already started to pay off; one of the 2019 team members was recruited at the 2018 competition. Team Chix Fix is an inspiration to all AMTs, and hopefully in coming years at AMC and other competitions around the world, the number of all women teams will only grow.

Alice L. Marston – Aircraft Dispatcher

Alice L. Marston was one of the first female Aircraft Dispatchers in the United States. Married to an airport official and aircraft designer, Marston’s whole family had a love of aviation. She worked before certifications were necessary, so much of the detail about her path is lost in the clouds. However, what is known is that she worked for Boston-Maine Central Vermont Airways in 1933. She greeted each plane, even in severe weather, including 6ft snowbanks on either side of the runway. Marston ensured that logs were kept of each flight so that other dispatchers knew the locations of the planes that came through her airport. While little is known about Marston, it is clear that she was a pioneer in her field and made way for other women in trades today. 

Pa’Trice Frazier – Welding

Pa’Trice Frazier realized she was a “loch ness monster” of sorts when it came to her field. As there are not many women in trades, and even less Black women, she realized that she was unique in her field. After obtaining countless welding certifications, Frazier took her knowledge and unique talent and put it to work. While still utilizing her welding skills, Frazier has also used her talents to become a motivational speaker. She hopes to inspire other women to take up welding as she believes women are uniquely situated to become master welders. Frazier’s tenacity, drive, and unique perspective on life make her a great role-model for other women as they look to enter the world of trades.

Alice H. Parker – HVAC

A drawing from Alice H. Parker's patented heating system

Alice H. Parker defied odds and made significant contributions to the world of HVAC. Born in 1895 in New Jersey, not much is known about her life. She received a certificate from Howard University Academy in 1910 and soon started looking at ways to better the environment around her. One day, Parker was observing her fireplace, and decided she wanted a better way to warm her house. Parker ended up inventing and patenting a system of central heating using natural gas in 1919. This discovery influenced the way modern HVAC systems work, as it laid the groundwork for natural gas and ducts to be used in heating different areas. It also marked one of the early times in history a Black woman was granted a US patent. Parker’s work was significant for the world of HVAC and for all women in trades. We are proud to celebrate her this Women’s History Month.

About Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a network of aviation maintenance schools with campuses coast-to-coast in the United States and headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va. AIM students are trained to meet the increasing global demand of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to take the Federal Aviation Administration exams necessary to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and Powerplant. AIM’s campuses are in the following major metro areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, San Francisco Bay, Orlando, and Norfolk. Learn more at www.AviationMaintenance.edu or like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AIM.edu.