Vermont Works for Women, a non-profit organization that supports women in finding and obtaining well-paying jobs, is working with Comcast to create a technician pilot training program for women. The plan is to entice 10 women to train for a field technician position so they can build a meaningful career in the telecommunications industry.
Currently, the number of Comcast female field techs can be counted on one hand—which is why the nation’s largest cable MSO has approached the non-profit to help recruit more female talent for open field tech positions.
According to Rachel Jolly, director of women’s programs at Vermont Works for Women, only 3 out of 535 Comcast field technicians throughout New England are women.
Aspiring field techs can attend “Step Up to Telecommunications”, which is a six-week, 80-hour program that provides in-depth training in hand tools, ladders, safety, installation and inspection, blueprint reading and cable theory, as well as CPR/OSHA, physical conditioning, communication, conflict management, customer service and employability skills. Students will be learning from an experienced team of instructors, which include Comcast senior technicians and staff.
Gender is irrelevant to an applicant’s candidacy—however, manual labor experience, construction and electrical experience, customer service skills, comfort with heights, and the ability to lift between 65-80 pounds are very important factors in determining which applicants are suitable for the job.
Women who participate and complete the program can take advantage of networking and interview opportunities with Comcast, so they can be considered for cable technician jobs. The starting pay is $13.16 an hour, with opportunities for raises and career advancement.
“We are partnering with Comcast but that’s not to say our graduates would be required to apply to Comcast or be employed by Comcast,” Jolly clarified. “They certainly could do any kind of telecommunications work.”
For women who prefer outdoor and technical work, this program provides a great opportunity, since these kind of jobs pay much better than restaurant or so-called “pink collar” jobs like secretarial and office work that usually starts at around minimum wage. This is great progress, especially for women who are looking to make ends meet and support their families.
In today’s day and age, gender should be the last thing on anybody’s mind when considering the right person for the job. Comcast is once again blazing the trail for equal opportunity employment, which other cable and satellite providers would do well to follow.