New Castle News

Local News

January 28, 2013

Breaking Barriers: More women pursuing careers in nontraditional jobs

NEW CASTLE — It’s not uncommon to see Natalie Simon driving through Moraine and McConnell’s Mill state parks in a truck.

As environmental education specialist at both sites, it’s just part of the job.

Simon realizes her duties fall under the title of nontraditional jobs for women.

So does Kinorea Tigri, who drove a big rig with her husband for 13 years — hauling heavy loads across ice-covered roads in Alaska and Canada.

Tigri used that experience to become commercial truck driver instructor at the New Castle School of Trades, where she is now satellite facility director.

While Simon and Tigri represent a growing trend, they still are among a minority. A report from the White House Council on Women and Girls said it’s “especially disconcerting” that women make up only 25 percent of the science, technology, engineering and manufacturing — or STEM — workforce.

The report also indicates that gender stereotyping and the lack of female role models in math, science and technology may be dissuading girls from entering these fields.

The good news, though, is that women who do hold STEM jobs earn 33 percent more than women in other occupations.

BLAZING THE WAY

Susan Fithian, 28, and Brandy Bedilion, 35, both are doing their part to beat the odds.

Fithian and Bedilion are the only two women in their diesel power generation course at the school of trades.

It was a career change for Fithian, who was a certified surgical technician but always enjoyed working on vehicles.

According to Tigri, that program provides instruction on repairing and troubleshooting electrical power generators, which is “big demand right now.”

On occasion, Fithian said, she has been asked whether she can handle the demands of such a job.

Any obstacles, though, have been stepped over and she will graduate in December with an associate’s degree in diesel technology and power generation with a Class A CDL. Fithian aspires to work in a shop as a technician.

She’s aware that there is still gender separation regarding certain jobs but sees improvement in that area.

“If you have an interest in a non-traditional job, go after it,” Fithian advised.

Bedilion, who will graduate in October, has been working around vehicles since she was six and her grandfather had an inspection garage. An Army veteran, she plans to keep her options open on job choices.

Along the way, though, “I had to teach the guys that, as women, we are capable of performing the same job just as well.”

That was proven when she and Fithian wired an industrial engine from scratch and excelled in that endeavor, earning respect from the school’s sponsors and male classmates, Tigri said.

“Women can do anything,” Bedilion noted. “We’re living proof of it. This is all hard work, but worth it in the end.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • money.jpg New recreation fees adopted

    New Castle City Council has adopted a new fee schedule for Cascade and Darlington parks. The new schedule runs from 2014 through 2016.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • HolidayInn.jpg Union Township getting another hotel

    Union Township is getting a Holiday Inn Express. John McClure, owner of McClure Realty, said he had closed a transaction Thursday on 3.8 acres on West State Street for the venture, a couple hundred yards west of the Hampton Inn.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • audit.jpg Shenango pension fund audit due ‘this summer’

    The audit report of the Shenango Township pension funds are expected to be released this summer.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • HIShands.jpg Local youths team up with His Hands Ministries to do home repair for those who can’t afford it

    Area youth from various Lawrence County churches started lending a helping hand Wednesday to residents in need. The annual Lawrence County Youth Ministries service event brings together students and adults for three days of volunteering. It is part of His Hands Ministries, an initiative involving local churches and volunteers who split into work groups to perform  home improvement tasks for elderly and low-income homeowners in the community.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blight.jpg Funds would target Lower East Side demolition

    The Lawrence County planning department and New Castle officials are partnering to wipe out neighborhood blight. They plan to start with the city’s Lower East Side.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • movietheater.jpg Overcoming addiction theme of movie

    The movie, “Anonymous People” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. July 30 at Westgate Cinemas.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • BalloonQuest.jpg Balloon Quest ready to soar again this weekend

    The Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest will mark its 25th anniversary this weekend at Union Township’s Scotland Meadows Park.

     

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boatlaunch.jpg County pursuing funds for more boat launches

    Lawrence County planners are pursuing funds to complete more boat launches. At their meeting last week, the county commissioners agreed to apply for $74,000 from the Commonwealth Finance Authority, through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, for the matching funds.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Road.jpg FirstEnergy announces transmission line project

    FirstEnergy Corp. has announced plans to replace 9.6 miles of overhead electrical transmission line in Lawrence and Mahoning counties.

     

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg County seeks safety money for courthouse

    The Lawrence County commissioners are applying for a grant to help enhance safety at the government center.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo