Janeka Whitley has been nominated for the “Women in Nontraditional Occupations” and the “Golden Boot Award.”
The purpose of the award is to solicit nominees from the Job Corps Community for the 2013 Better Occupational Opportunities for Tradeswomen (B.O.O.T.) student recognition award and the Paramount Instructor Award.
Nontraditional occupations for women are described by the Department of Labor as those in which women comprise 25 percent or less of those employed.
“Whitley has been showing great promise as the only female welder in her vocation. But don’t take her lightly. She is probably by far one of the better welders in her class,” stated Marvin Ramsey, liaison specialist. “Her overall work ethic has really improved. She leads by example and is always ready to assist her peers in class and throughout the job corps center.”
“As a child growing up in Charlotte, N.C., I remember through various stages of my childhood aspiring to be any and everything I could dream of,” said Whitley. “One week I wanted to be a dancer, the next week I wanted to sing. That is, until I realized that I could not sing, which ended very quickly. As I got older choosing a career became much harder. Before Job Corps I never thought I would be taking a non-traditional trade such as welding. The reason I chose this trade is that it pays well and keeps my interest in addition to knowing that you can do so much in the welding field, such as underwater welding, classroom instructor or a structural welder. Plus, I love the challenge of competing with other class members (men), when they see that I can make better welds than they. They particularly get angry when I win in countless welding contests,” Whitley continued.
“Since I have been in Job Corps, I feel that there have been a lot of influential people that have assisted me in achieving my career goals. That gives me the most inspiration in wanting the best for me and my family. I can say that my motivation comes from my dad. When he was alive, I remember him being such a hard worker and always providing for his family. My ego in welding led me to believe that, I got this. I’m not going to face any challenges. Boy, was I wrong. Welding is not easy. Without my instructor teaching me and helping me, I would have not known anything, such as, welding beads, flux cords, vertical welds or even cutting metal.
“When I first enrolled into Job Corps, I really did not think that welding would be for me. I initially saw it as a vocation for males. Now that I have got the hang of it, it has really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I know now that when I set goals for myself I can accomplish them.
“After completing Job Corps, I would like to find a well paying job in welding for a company and maybe even do some underwater welding. I would like to also go back to school for my mortuary science degree. Eventually, I would like to open my own funeral home and hire some of my family members.
“I think sometimes women don’t get the credit that men do when it comes to work ethic. We work really hard to make our mark in society. There are a lot of women in nontraditional trades who carry a full load at work, home, with families, and educating themselves to raise the glass ceiling and break down those traditional roles that we face. My advice I would give to females who are considering a non-traditional trade is that, you can do anything you put your mind to, so don’t be intimidated by males because women can shine bright like a diamond,” she concluded.
The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.
For more information about the Lyndon B. Johnson CCC, visit www.lyndonbjohnson.jobcorps.gov.