Meet Ana Figueroa!

Philadelphia, PA, USA, November 18, 2021

Ana (she/her) is an apprentice glazier with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 21 and Glaziers Local Union 252. Ana is also a graduate of the Women in Nontraditional Careers (WINC) Tradeswomen Readiness Program (TRP) and we are kicking off Apprenticeship Week by celebrating her success!

Ana's first introduction to the trades was at Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia where she had the opportunity to take welding classes. Her shop teacher recognized her welding skills and nominated her to attend the Finishing Trades Institute's VIP Program - the Vocational Intern Partnership Program for High School Students. For three months Ana spent every Tuesday at FTI's training center where she was introduced to glazing, painting, drywall, and fall protection.

Ana initially wanted to pursue welding, but her teachers and mentors at FTI encouraged her to pursue glazing because it incorporates welding among many other things.

After graduating high school in June 2021, Ana applied to the WINC TRP pre-apprenticeship program for aspiring tradeswomen and was accepted. She says the program specifically helped her with construction math, something that she initially struggled with and would come across again during her apprenticeship.

After graduating from TRP, Ana applied to FTI and was accepted as an apprentice glazier. Ana has spent her initial 11 weeks getting paid to go to her first round of classes, where she was one of three women in a class of 25. In early December she starts her first job as an apprentice glazier.

We couldn't be more thrilled for Ana! At 20 years old, she's already on track to an excellent career. The glaziers program, like many other union programs, provides an associate's degree on top of the earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship. 

And as far as Ana's long-term aspirations go: "I want to get more young females in the trades like me. I didn't want to go to college and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and get a degree that might not get me anywhere. I wanted to go into the trades. But now I get to work in the trades, and I am getting a degree as well. If you feel like college isn't for you, getting into the trades is a great option."