As a working single mother of three, it has always been a goal of mine to go back to school. I had been tired of working for a company that I knew wasn’t going to take me where I needed to go. With a lack of career advancements I longed for something different, I knew I wanted to stay within the construction industry but I didn’t know exactly what to do to get there.
I attended an orientation where I met Ester from Tradeswomen, Inc. who introduced me to the Green Energy Training Services (GETS) program at Rising Sun Energy Center. I realized that this wasn’t just an orientation where you could only get certificates, but it was a program where you could actually start a career in any trade within the union. I became more excited because I had always wanted to learn more about the construction industry and never knew how broad of an industry it was.
Being in this program I was very motivated at first because, I said to myself “okay, this is going to be a breeze, I’m going to get this and that done in this amount of time.” Knowing that nothing ever goes as planned, I had taken the construction inspector test and failed it by 7%. I became discouraged and ready to quit, blinded by one setback. I felt like this program was a waste of time. But with the support of my man and friends, they quickly opened my eyes to realize the bigger picture, that I’d come so far, and I wasn’t going to give up because of one test score. I wasn’t going to let any negativity influence my determination to become successful. This program wasn’t a waste of time, I learned so much that I didn’t know before.
My favorite part of the program was being able to work side by side with Ms. Juanita seeing not only a woman but a black woman who has become so successful in this industry was very encouraging. She showed me a lot of things I had never tried to do before. With her by my side, I pushed my strengths in a different way mentally and physically, having “thick skin” is what she called it.
Now looking at the cup half full and not empty, I see that every accomplishment doesn’t always have to be big. Even though I am not currently where I want to be I know that I will get there. And because I am not going to give up I will be back at Local 3 to reapply and retake my test. I am going to be my kids leading example of a winner, proving that as long as you put forth the effort you can achieve anything. I want to be their motivation as they are for me.
Written by: Tiffany White, Green Energy Training Services Alumna 2018