The lights are up, there’s a dull roar of hundreds of voices and the faint scent of wax in the air, and Sherri and I have our wide “Please-talk-to-me” smiles on as we man the booth in yet another College and Career Fair. We’re in the gym of a high school, and we’re buzzing along the aisle, asking students if they’ve ever considered electrical work before.
Now, as anyone promoting the trades knows, many of these students are planning on going to college. But the boys look interested and take a brochure anyway.
A young woman comes to the booth, and I ask, “Have you ever thought about doing electrical work?”
She paused, and almost did a double take to see if I was speaking to someone behind her. Self-consciously, she giggled, as if the thought was ludicrous to her. “No, um… I haven’t.” She then suggested passing the information on to her brother and male friends.
That same interaction probably happened about 12 times in those two hours. The same look of shock. The same uncomfortable laugh. It’s as if it’s never crossed their mind that becoming part of the labor force was even an option for them.