More women study to be diesel technicians

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Job sites indicate there are currently more than 1,000 diesel technician openings in Wisconsin. It's a career that's traditionally dominated by men -- but not anymore.

Woman repairing diesel truck parts
More women are taking classes to be diesel technicians, finding high-paying jobs in a career traditionally dominated by men (WBAY photo)

With diesel technicians in high demand, not only in Wisconsin but around the country, more and more women are entering the field.

A high-paying job awaits those willing to break stereotypes.

After spending five years in the Marines, Amy Hunt decided to pursue a career in the trades.

"I love the fact that you can work with your hands, you can break a sweat, you know you earn that money, and you visually see what you accomplish," she said.

Two years ago, Hunt moved from Florida to enroll in Northeast Wisconsin Technical College's Diesel Technician program at its Sturgeon Bay campus.

She felt instantly welcomed, and it didn't take long for her to realize she had picked the right career.

"It doesn't matter if you're male or female or whatever else you identify yourself as. It just matters that you are a body and you are somebody that can do work, and that's what they want, they need people to do work," Hunt said.

"She's a driver, she's focused, she knows what she wants," NWTC instructor Steve Bretl said.

Bretl says Amy has become a leader in the class.

"She actually challenges them to a point where we're to the next level again, we can do this even faster, and then it challenges myself to keep on top of it, which is good all around, it really is," Bretl said.

When she graduates this month, Hunt will be the tenth woman to earn a diploma in diesel from NWTC -- proof that it's no longer just a man's job.

"If this is what you're interested in and you're comfortable with it, go for it," Hunt advises. "There's nobody here that is literally going to say, 'No, you can't do that. I'm sorry but due to your physique and your long hair and the fact you have nail polish, you're not allowed in this industry.'"

An industry where technicians like Hunt are in high demand and set to receive good money in just a few years.

"Easily in upwards of $70,000, $80,000, and that's just as a floor technician in fact. If you want to progress through this field, the opportunities within our industry is blowing out of the ceiling," Bretl said.

"There's definitely job security in this field," Hunt said.

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