MARIETTA, OH (October 24, 2017)—Washington State Community College is celebrating the road less traveled. The College has designated the week of Oct. 23 as Nontraditional Career Path Week to draw attention to students who are blazing a trail in programs that are outside their gender role.
Nontraditional career paths are programs that prepare students for occupations that employ less than 25% of either gender, according to the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE). For men, these programs include allied health, business administrative services, early childhood education, social services and nursing. For women, the programs include automotive technologies, computer science, information technology, criminal justice, engineering, and skilled trades.
“From our initial contact, it’s our highest priority to help students select a major that suits their talents and interests with no attention given to gender roles,” said WSCC Director of Admissions Carrie Thrash. “Students are only going to find success if they pursue an education that builds on their strengths rather than their gender.”
Thrash went onto to explain that “ultimately, college is simply the conduit that helps students on their path to their career. If encouraging them to look beyond stereotypes and social expectations, we are not just helping them, but everyone they will serve professionally throughout their careers.”
Glen Siegrist is one of five men enrolled in the Massage Therapy program at WSCC. While he recognizes he is among an exclusive group, nationally men represent only about 11% of massage therapy population, he is keenly aware that men can play a valuable role in this career. He pointed out that as a man, he may be more intuitive about pains and disorders, specifically those a man may not be comfortable revealing to a woman for “fear of looking weak.”
“Regular guys care just as much as women, is something I feel this society needs to see,” confided Siegrist. “If a man wants to help and care for people he should not hold back out of insecurities about what is so-called ‘acceptable’.”
Kera Fordyce is expanding the definition of mechanic in the auto/diesel garage at WSCC. Fordyce is pursuing dual degrees in Automotive Service Technology and Diesel Truck Systems. As a mechanic, she will fill a role represented by fewer than 2% of women, a role she readily admits isn’t easy.
“Guys will judge you and they will watch you a little closer than my male counterparts. But, even on the hard days, when you get underestimated or pushed aside for being a woman in the field, even those are pros, because that gives you the chance to show the world that ‘hey, I’m just as good as any guy.’ To be a woman in the auto/diesel field is to show the world what women can really do.”
Siegrist and Fordyce are only two stories of hundreds of students who can count themselves among the pioneers in their chosen field of study–those who are changing perceptions and expectations of gender roles in the workplace.
For more than 45 years, Washington State Community College has fueled the community’s future through education. We work to make a positive impact by providing opportunities for growth. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or an adult student looking to enrich your life, we cultivate pathways to guide you toward future growth. Be inspired. Be WSCC. For more information about Washington State Community College, visit www.wscc.edu or call 740.374.8716.