A female plumber’s tale sheds light on the fulfilling career to be had in the trades
As Careers in Construction Month draws to a close, Reliance Worldwide Corporation (RWC) is committed to continuing its investment in the national initiative, which recognizes talent and career development opportunities throughout the building trades. Designed to engage prospective skilled laborers as well as current professionals, RWC remains focused on inspiring others to seek a career in the trades.
With a well-documented passion for this initiative – including its national partnership with the Home Builders Institute (HBI) which was announced at IBS 2021 – RWC has a continuous drive to learn as much as possible to help increase the talent pool. After recent participation in HBI’s Industry Workforce Roundtable, the biggest takeaway was clear: an undeniable need for increased industry diversity.
In a category with unfulfilled positions and untapped opportunities, RWC is doing its part to help by identifying and showcasing diverse talent, sharing their stories to inform and inspire others to start their career in plumbing. And through the partnership with HBI, RWC met Starr Delgado, a certified plumber and plumbing instructor at HBI’s Job Corps Plumbing Program.
Overcoming personal and professional challenges – including dropping out of school – led Delgado to pursue a career that could help to support her family. After researching career paths and identifying plumbing as the ultimate solution, Delgado began taking plumbing courses at HBI and was inspired by her plumbing instructor to come back years later to teach. Today, she owns her own home, her own car and supports her family through her plumbing career.
“The most rewarding thing for me is the students,” said Delgado. “You get to give back…the hardest of the hardest kids come through these doors, and they turn out to be something amazing.”
When asked about her experiences as an industry-leading woman and the advice she would give to others, she stated, “There’s always going to be challenges for women in the field. People are always going to say you can’t or you shouldn’t or don’t. But if you say I’m going to, I can and I will, you can do it. You just have to have some thick skin.”
By breaking through the stereotypes associated with plumbers, Delgado was able to achieve all that she wanted: the ability to support her family and a career she could be proud of. RWC plans to continue sharing similar stories to reach the younger generation, as well as diverse groups, in the hopes that they begin seeing the opportunities that could be had by pursuing a career in the trades.