Our guest today is Lisa Marx.
Lisa is a journey level scaffolder, a member of the local 70, and a passionate advocate of career opportunities for women in the trades.
We will open today’s conversation by learning how Lisa first became interested in scaffolding as a career, and how that decision transformed her life for the better when she joined the UBC.
Next, we’ll delve into what opportunities are available for those interested in becoming a professional carpenter and discuss some of the assistance programs designed to help those just starting to get off on the right foot.
Later, Lisa will tell about the recent, Trades Women Build Nation Virtual Conference she attended and we'll investigate the additional challenges women may face in the field,
such as sexism, harassment and implicit bias.
We’ll then wrap up our conversation by discussing the importance of developing support groups to gain confidence and craft skills in order to be successful on the job.
Links for Financial Resources:
Limited financial assistance for qualified individuals for needs such as:
housing, utilities, gas, Union Dues, Tools, Work Clothes, Boots, Books, Driver’s License, etc. See websites for more details.
WSDOT Scholarship Application: https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/EqualOpportunity/scholarship.htm
Northwest Carpenters Union Website:
Sisters in the Brotherhood Monthly Meeting Registration Washington State
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Welcome to another episode of Grit Northwest. I'm Joe Cadwell. President of the Northwest Carpenters Union, writer, producer and your host of this podcast. The goal of Grit Northwest is to introduce you to the various trades personalities and issues relevant to the construction industry and our region. Through informative and insightful interviews, I hope to enable you to develop a stronger understanding of what it means to be a member of the carpenters union, and show you how you can become a proud guardian of the deep and rich legacy that those who came before us work so hard to build from leadership development and training to politics and organizing. My goal is to engage, educate and energize you to take charge of your future. You enjoy grid Northwest, please consider joining grid nation by clicking on the hyperlink in the show notes for this episode. You'll be kept up to date on special offers and promotions available to members and you'll be entered to win an official I've got great t shirt when you do. Our guest today is Lisa marks. He says the journey level scaffolder, a member of local 70 and a passionate advocate of career opportunities for women in the trades. We will open today's conversation by learning how Lisa first became interested in scaffolding as a career and how that decision transformed her life for the better when she joined the UDC. Next we'll delve into what opportunities are available for those interested in becoming a professional Carpenter discuss some of the assistance programs designed to help those just starting off to get off on the right foot. Later, Lisa will tell us about the recent trades women build nation virtual conference she attended and investigate the additional challenges women may face on the field such as sexism, harassment, and implicit bias will then wrap up our conversation by discussing the importance of developing support groups in order to gain competence and craft skills, be successful on the job. And now on to the show. Welcome to the show, Lisa.Lisa Marx:
Thank you, Joe. Thanks for having me on the show. I really appreciate it. I'm, I'm humbled and honored. And, you know, I want to thank you for putting these shows together and using this platform so that we can reach out to more of our members and stuff. That's really great. And I really appreciate what you're doing.Unknown:
Well, thank you for that. I've obviously been very fortunate to have such great listeners and providing content that people are engaged in, in hearing and that's why I was really excited to have you on the show today. So Lisa, can you tell the listeners a little bit more about yourself.Lisa Marx:
My name is Lisa Marx and I am North Puget Sound carpenters local 70 journey level scaffold Rector. I'm also an officer and a delegate for my local and the sisters in the Brotherhood chair.Joe Cadwell:
And I understand you started your career as a scaffolder and you actually went through the scaffold apprenticeship, what got you interested in in scaffolding?Lisa Marx:
Well, it's kind of a long story how I came in, but I'm gonna try to shorten the version down a little bit. scaffolding wasn't really something that I had thought about doing. But over a series of events and stuff throughout my life I had, I had worked retail pretty much my my whole life, doing multiple jobs to make it by and raise my kids. And when the economy crashed. So did my careers and my life because there wasn't a whole lot of jobs out there. And I was down to donating plasma and working at whatever odd jobs I could get to survive. And then I had some friends who told me about getting into carpentry and apprenticeship. And so I went down to the hall and I applied. And because of the recession, there weren't a lot of jobs available in carpentry. So they told me about the scaffold program. And they didn't have any women in the scaffold program. And because there's so many refineries up here, I, you know, knew that I'd be able to stay working and keep my apprenticeship hours and stuff. So I was like, Sure, I'll try it. And I interviewed and I got in and, and, you know, the rest was was history. But you know, I mean, there was a lot of programs Well, I should say one at the time that helped me come into because, you know, I was I was almost homeless, I was just about ready to live in a storage unit. And so I have a lot of money. And I didn't know how I was going to get my tools and all my stuff to get started. So I heard about this program called a new which is apprenticeship a non traditional employment for women. And they were able to help me get my tools and my boots, my rain gear and different things that I needed to start getting into my apprenticeship. So that was that was pretty cool too.Joe Cadwell:
So it sounds like you've benefited greatly from The obviously the apprenticeship program the new program, and you are now giving back to those programs from from what I understand. Can you tell us more about your involvement in pre apprenticeships and in what you're doing with developing community partner relationships.Lisa Marx:
This apprenticeship meant so much to me and getting involved in the trades and everything really opened my eyes to stuff that I never imagined I could ever do or achieve, especially as a woman and I came in as an older woman. There were all of these, these different there's more of these different pre apprenticeship programs and stuff out there now that can help women and other underrepresented populations come in to these wonderful trades careers. So many people don't think about them and don't even know that the trades exist and can be an option for them. And now with with all of the different pre apprenticeship programs and community resources and community partners coming together and stuff, I mean, it's really opened up opportunity for so many other people to come into the trades. End of UCI actually has a pre apprenticeship program. I believe PNC AI has a pre apprenticeship program. Kind of don't you guys have on?Joe Cadwell:
Oh, yeah, that is correct. Amber McCoy runs the the pre apprentice for us down here in Southwest Washington and Oregon. And for the listeners who aren't familiar with the acronyms pn ci is that Pacific Northwest carpenters Institute, and NW ci is up in Seattle in the Puget Sound area. That's the Northwest carpenters Institute. And those are the union apprentice programs basically a four year long construction college. And the pre apprenticeship programs are designed to allow people that maybe don't have a complete understanding of what an apprenticeship is or what it's like to work in the trades. It gives them a somewhat of a taste.Lisa Marx:
Thank you for that. That was awesome. I sometimes forget and I talk with these acronyms and realize that you know the listeners probably aren't gonna exactly understand what all these acronyms are. So think problem.Joe Cadwell:
Here's another acronym then the sisters in the Brotherhood or sib is a very active group especially down our way with again, Amber McCoy and Desi writes involvement gathering onwards up to 50 6070 brothers and sisters coming to these meetings on a monthly basis pre covid time. They're now meeting virtually Are you involved with the sisters group up in the Puget Sound area?Lisa Marx:
Yes, I am actually the North Puget Sound sisters chair and Washington state we actually have, I believe four active chapters. So we've got a chapter in eastern Washington Spokane area, we have one up here up north in North Puget Sound. We have one centrally central Puget Sound, which would be mostly like the local 30 area. And then we have South Puget Sound, which would be you know, Tacoma and all the area that's kind of south of Seattle pretty much. And all of our chapters are very active. And pre COVID. We were up here up north, because we don't have, you know, as many sisters, but we were probably getting about 15 a month at our at our meetups and everything. And then now we're actually doing virtual meetups. So we're not letting COVID stop us, we're all still, you know, making sure that we're staying together and getting together, at least virtually. And we've been having, oh gosh, anywhere from 25 to maybe 50 on a on a call. And those meetings have been very nice and very helpful, very beneficial, I think to a lot of our sisters, I know that Desi in your area in Oregon. Desi, right she has been running some sisters meetings virtually as well. And she's been getting really good attendance to at hers I've been dropping in on her meetings and stuff too. Now the nice thing I like about this virtual format, and it's become so popular, really that sisters are asking that we do a hybrid even when things open back up so that we can run you know, like a video type call for because sometimes the sisters are working late, you know and they get home and they still want to come to the meeting but they got stuff they got to do, you know cooking dinner and getting the kids and you know, homework done and all that kind of stuff. So they want to steal me but maybe they can't go to the physical place to meet so they're hoping that we can maybe stay with sort of like a hybrid format and be able to do it in person for those that want to come in person. And then virtual for sisters that want to join in from other areas.Joe Cadwell:
Yeah, I'd have to agree that COVID is challenging and as uncomfortable as it has been, has definitely opened up a lot of opportunity for growth within our organization using these virtual conferences. We had Paul Philpott on recently and talked about the the growth of the carpenters in Action Group and Dale devore. AK, was recently on to talk about veterans in the Brotherhood. And those groups are also meeting virtually. So there's a great opportunity there for us to connect our 29,000 members here in the northwest Council. So speaking of large virtual gatherings a few weeks ago, I understand you were involved with the trade women's build nation event, would you care to tell our listeners a little bit more about what that event was and what you experienced?Lisa Marx:
Sure, I will, that that, thank you for asking, that was a great event. And, you know, really grateful that it was even able to go forward and happen because with COVID, so many things had been closed down. And we really thought that this event was going to be closed down to because it was supposed to be supposed to be in person in New Orleans, because it travels around to different parts of the country. The caucus went went ahead and was able to go forward. And so we were able to have our, our carpenters sisters caucus on actually Friday, the 16th. And about 300 sisters, actually were on there from all across the country and Canada. So at that, at that caucus, we had the opportunity to listen to quite a few guest speakers. They had some good in depth political reports, we had time for questions and answers. And then my favorite part, we got to jump in on some breakout sessions. And in those breakout sessions, we got to meet sisters from all across the country. And that just always is really cool to me, because it's kind of neat to see what is happening, and other parts of the world, other parts of the state, you know, and other parts of the country. Because even though we have a lot of the same issues and barriers and things that we deal with, it's it's kind of neat to hear about what's happening in other areas that's different, what they're doing different how they're handling things different and just be able to share those best practices and and lean on each other and just you know, visit it was it was really cool. I got paired up with a as a whole group of sisters from like New York, New Jersey, Boston is fun.Joe Cadwell:
What are some of those issues? Are some of the barriers or challenges of being a woman Carpenter in today's modern construction industry? workplace?Lisa Marx:
I'd say a lot of our our main barriers, of course, are the gender stereotypes, you know, is she going to be strong enough is she going to be smart enough is she going to be able to handle doing this, you know, a lot of times where we're doubted, sometimes it's lack of confidence, which is where pre apprenticeship is coming in really nice and handy, because with pre apprenticeship, people have the opportunity to get a lot of that training, you know, learning those math skills, learning those measuring skills, learning all the other skills that you need, like conflict resolution, and a bunch of how tos tricks and tips and all that kind of stuff, it just builds your confidence. And then that way, when you get on the job site, it's not quite as scary of a place and you feel like you can compete. There's also lack of role models. That's why it's really nice to have the sisters groups and see so many sisters starting to get involved in volunteering and stuff because women got to see it to be it. And if you don't have an a role model and example, another sister who's especially in leadership, or other areas, it's really hard to see yourself there. And so it's really nice to see more women role models coming out. Um, there's of course, the discrimination and being passed over for promotion, sometimes as women, we can try and try and try and sometimes, you know, we try too hard and can get perceived wrong and sometimes, you know, I mean, it just seems like even if we have the same qualifications and maybe even if we exceed qualifications for a promotion, sometimes where we're looked over and I'd say that's kind of a big one. And then of course the harassment, sometimes not getting enough on the job training. Because sometimes you know, they have a tendency to Put the woman on the here, here's the broom, man, oh here, go clean that garbage up over there. Why don't you straighten this pile of wood up over here, you know, we're not, we're not actually always being able to have the tools on our hands in our hands. And that can get us behind, which is another thing with pre apprenticeship and some of the things that some of the training centers have been doing. I know that NW ci for a while had this great program that we had put together called sharp, which stood for skills help apprentices remain productive. And it was a program that we had put together to help get sisters some of that extra training. So if they felt like they were getting behind, sisters could come in and we would give them some hands on experience with one on one, smaller groups so that they have the opportunity to be able to make mistakes and a comfortable atmosphere, ask questions, and kind of get up to speed with their on the job training so that they don't get behind him. apprenticeship, I'd say that's probably one of the biggest areas where we lose a lot of our sisters is them just not being able to keep up on their hours are getting behind in their apprenticeship,Joe Cadwell:
which is a real disservice to them and to our craft and our organization. I know great effort has been made to introduce the positive jobsite culture training, down here in Portland, Southwest Washington through PNC AI. And I believe the the team that's responsible for that is trying to take our message council wide, but it is something that's unfortunate. And it is enlightening to hear the struggles that are not only taking place for sisters up in our part of the country, but all across the country. It sounds likeLisa Marx:
yeah, you know, another thing that we have to Sorry, I didn't mean to. That's okay, gotcha. But I just wanted to add in there, because one of the things I didn't talk about with pre apprenticeship that actually helps with retention, is they have a lot of funding programs. And I've really been trying to get it out there to all of the apprentices that there is funding out there. And there's there's resources, so a lot of the same. Same entities that offer the pre apprenticeship can also offer help for paying dues, helping with rent, childcare, gas cards, different things, you know, there's a lot of barriers that sometimes a lot of our apprentices face, male or female, there is help and there's resources out there, there's even help out there for like, if you have driver's license issues and need help getting your driver's license reinstated. I mean, there's just just a plethora of of help and everything that's out there now to try try to help us keep our apprentices in the game. And a lot of that is another one of those things that came out of city of Seattle with their their our Pac committee and all the work that they've done to try and bring all of the community partners together at one table, and build something to where everybody's working together. And we're able to get the best work done and the best support out to all of our apprentices to keep this workforceJoe Cadwell:
built up and keep everybody in the game. doing that, I'll make sure to add a lot of those links that you talked about in the show notes that are accessible at the end of the show, from the website or on your Spotify or Apple podcasts, I actuallyLisa Marx:
do have a resource guide that I will send you and it's got all of that stuff on that. And then the sisters meetings I know some people may want to know when and where they can find sisters meetings that are so meeting virtually. And that would actually be on the NW carpenters website. So the Northwest carpenters website, you should be able to get on there and go into their events calendar. And then if you look in the events calendar, there is usually a link or you know, a date and a time and if it doesn't have that on there, then you can reach out to your local area rep or your local office and they can usually let you know how you can get the link to be able to join in on those meetings.Joe Cadwell:
Well, thank you for that. And Lisa before we wrap up the conversation, it sounds like you've obviously benefited greatly from you're signing up with the the carpenters union and it's put your life on a pretty positive track for someone who's listening now who is is sort of just starting out and wants to give back to the organization like you have done so well. What what words of advice do you have for them?Lisa Marx:
I would say get involved. Go to your local. join a group whether that be sisters in the Brotherhood, your CIA, your carpenters in action. You're veterans groups, your your veterans in the Brotherhood. Get involved. Get involved politically. Make sure you're voting. Make sure you're getting involved in your community. This is your union. Take ownership. Show your pride, get out there and get involved.Joe Cadwell:
Well, thank you so much for taking your time to be on the show. We really appreciate it. And good luck with everything you're doing to help make our organization better.Lisa Marx:
Thank you, Joe. Thank you again so much, and thanks for all you're doing.Joe Cadwell:
Just today was Lisa March multiple 70 in the north Puget Sound. Be sure to check out the show notes to get more information on the programs referenced in the episode. Well, that wraps up this edition of grit Northwest. you enjoyed today's episode, be sure to share it with friends, family members and fellow carpenters. If you haven't already done so please take a moment to post a review on Apple podcasts. We'll help others find the show. Till next time. This is Joe Cadwell reminding you to work safe, work smart and stay union strong