Kerry Sampson, sheet metal apprentice at work

Kerry works on the installation of a small AHU (1 of 95) at the University of Massachusetts’s Dartmouth campus.

Kerry Lynne Sampson
Sheet Metal Apprentice, 4th Year, Unique Metal Works

We asked Kerry a few questions about Women in Construction…

What advice would you give to a young woman entering the construction industry?

Come in with your head held high and keep it there. Confidence is key. Maintain healthy boundaries with your coworkers from the start; don’t allow anyone to push you around. Be yourself and respect yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most of the time, what you are learning is just the beginning of something much bigger. If you don’t understand the first task, it could throw you off for the rest. You won’t learn if you don’t ask. Last but not least, empower your sisters; stick together and build each other up.

How do you think the construction industry can attract more female candidates?

Number one, your local union needs a female mentor. Currently, my local does not have a female mentor, but I am working towards being that mentor when I become a mechanic in 2023. I will be the first female in Rhode Islands history to have completed the apprenticeship program. Bring a female union member to local job fairs or a “career day” at the local schools; this way, young women can ask questions right there and be more confident and less intimidated. Provide a proper work environment, have the correct sizes for personal protection equipment (PPE) and clothing available, and female restrooms. Feeling welcomed and comfortable is important.

What is the best part of your job?

When I complete a project successfully and see the finished work. I feel a sense of gratitude when I know that I helped solve problems to get the job done.

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