Line Life Podcast: ICYMI: Training Women on the Line

March 8, 2024
The narrated version of this article shares tips for recruiting, training and retaining women in the line trade.

For the 2023 T&D World Lineworker Supplement, we published an article titled, "Training Women on the Line." We are now bringing it to life from the print page to the soundwaves with the Line Life Podcast. 

Listen to the episode to learn four strategies to recruit, train and retain lineworkers including:

1. Take a new approach to training. Female lineworkers often need to learn different ways of doing the same task to be safe and effective on the job. "Just because we don't do it your way doesn't mean we can't do it at all," says Randi Blaser, a lineworker at Ameren Illinois. 

2. Safeguard women with workwear and PPE that fits. Manufacturers are now making clothing that isn't just men's clothes in smaller sizes but rather workwear that fits women's bodies. "I want clothing that is comfortable and looks good," Randi added. "I don't want clothes that are baggy and made for men."

3. Build a support network. Alice Lockridge, an advocate for women in the trades and a former exercise physiologist at Seattle City Light, advises utilities to never hire one woman at a time. "That's a surefire way to drown her and virtually prove that women can't do it," she says, suggesting utilities consider hiring three women at once so they can give each other support on the job. 

4. Create awareness of job opportunities for women in line work. Because women aren't often encouraged to go into the trades, Joanne Ward stressed the need for a societal shift.

"This country has traditionally disregarded women as capable of, or disinterested in, non-traditional work," she says. "I think there needs to be a concerted effort from the federal to the local level to reframe the societal need for lineworkers that shows the need to be great enough to require women and men lineworkers."

Susan Blaser, line technician training coordinator at Metropolitan Community Center, agreed. "I just don't think women understand that it's something that they can do, and they can be supported in and they can be successful at," she says. 

To read the full story, click here

Women on the Line Podcast Series
To learn more about the women featured in this story, listen to the four-part Line Life Podcast series on Podbean

Listen to the Line Life Podcast at linelife.podbean.com. You can follow us on Podbean to be notified when new episodes are available. Email us at [email protected] with your comments on this episode and suggestions for future guests. 

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