Southfield (CW50) – Unions can be the perfect place for anyone looking to get into a skilled trade to find security, training, education, experience, and opportunity. Courtney Mefford followed in her father’s footsteps by joining Operating Engineers to start her career in the civil engineering industry.

Mefford’s father was a member of another Operating Engineers branch, but Mefford joined Operating Engineers 324 to get an education, training, and experience on the job in her trade. Mefford is a 3rd year apprentice for Operating Engineers, and works on an assortment of large and small jobsites, operating heavy machinery.

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She learned to use this equipment at Operating Engineers 324’s training center in Howell, Michigan. The training center is over 560 acres of land used for in-class education programs, as well as field work for a variety of engineering professions. The training center gives apprentices the opportunity to work with the equipment hands-on, and learn all the details necessary to be successful on a jobsite in the field.

Community Connect Host Lisa Germani, with Courtney Mefford, Operating Engineers 324 Apprentice

Courtney Mefford, Operating Engineers 324 Apprentice, joins Lisa Germani on Community Connect to talk about her path into civil engineering, and what the experience is like as a female in a trade historically dominated by men.

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Mefford talked about how it’s strange for the older generation to see a woman on the jobsite at first, but once they see how hard you work and how dedicated you are to getting the job done, they respect you like they would any other gender.

She also discussed how there are still plenty of things to work on in order for women to find inclusivity in all trades, but the atmosphere has certainly gotten better as time goes on and younger generations enter the industry.

Learn more about Operating Engineers 324 at OE324.org

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Watch Community Connect, Saturday at 7am on CW50