Ruth Morrison, chair of SMCC's automotive department and the advisor for Women Empowered, a group for women enrolled in tech trades that meets once a month, says that "at this point what people need to know is that the way vehicles are being designed, you don't have to be big and strong to do a lot of these jobs. You have to be able to diagnose and follow flow charts and problem solve."

This message is in keeping with the "PR campaign" called for by Mike Rowe in his Senate testimony. The vocational arts are changing — and these shifts could be beneficial for women who are interested in exploring careers that are typically in the male domain.

"We are working hard to change the public perception of many of these professions," says SMCC president Ron Cantor. "Not only are many of these jobs high paying and fast growing, but they also require a lot of creativity, problem solving and leadership skills. Encouraging Mainers, and especially Maine women, to seek technical careers is key to helping the Maine economy grow and broadening prosperity in our communities."

Deirdre Fulton can be reached at  dfulton@phx.com.

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