LIVINGSTON PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Livingston Parish Public Schools is encouraging female students to consider non-traditional career paths in the automotive industry.
Female student ambassadors and counselors from each of the nine high schools in the parish were invited to attend an informational session at the parish’s automotive center, which is in the Livingston Literacy and Technology Center in Walker. Attendees were given an assortment of pink accessories, including reflective vests, headbands, and protective eye wear.
Attendees were able to hear from local industry professionals and academic leaders who want to hire more women and enroll them in automotive certification programs. Speakers included automotive program directors from Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) and Northshore Technical Community College, as well as representatives from O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, Neighbor’s Federal Credit Union in Walker, and Eric Lane, CEO of Gerry Lane Enterprises in Baton Rouge.
“Our goal is to better educate and create greater awareness of career opportunities that women have in those career fields that are now male-dominated. There is now a high demand for women in many of these fields; but for many girls, these opportunities are not even on their radars,” said Career Technical Education Coordinator Staci Polozola.
Polozola says auto industry professionals have said that women in the industry have proven to be very good employees, often showing more patience in finding solutions to problems than their male coworkers. As mechanic service work has become more digitized, the job has become less “dirty" and less dependent upon physical strength, making the work more appealing to women.
“We hope events like this will expose girls to the required skill sets for non-traditional jobs and to professionals in the field, and create an interest to pursue available opportunities,” Polozola said.
The student ambassadors and counselors are encouraged to share information from the session with freshmen and sophomores. The district will then survey those girls the following semester to see if there’s enough demand for a girls only auto class. Depending on the response, the district may offer such a class during the 2020-21 school year, during the summer, and/or as a night class.
The school district is partnering with local businesses to give students opportunities for paid internships, job shadowing, and on-site externships.