Changing Perceptions – Women in Automotive
Sometimes life’s biggest challenges can be turned into rewarding events. This is the case for Ashley Burroughs, who stumbled upon her future career when she totaled a beloved family car back in 2012.
“At the time, I was working in restaurants and barely making enough to get by. I couldn’t afford to repair the car, so I figured I would try to do it myself. I asked a good friend of mine who tutored me through it,” says Ashley. “By the time I was done with it, I realized that this was something I could do professionally.”
Automotive Technology is one of over 140 programs offered at Broward College. The program, which started at the College in 2006, trains students to become auto specialists qualified to work on the highly-sophisticated cars of today. In partnership with the Broward County Technical Colleges, Broward College provides technical training for the students at an affordable price.
The training follows dealer-specific requirements that include engine repair, electrical systems, brake, transmissions, and more.
Women in Automotive
Throughout the entire industry, women are underrepresented. In 2017, women represented 26.7 percent of the industry’s workforce in all positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When it comes to automotive technicians, women only represent 9.6 percent of the employees.
“It’s sad to see such a small percentage of women in this industry,” says James Norton, professor of Automotive at the College. “The female students that have completed this program have gone on to hold positions as Service Advisers, Service Managers, Mechanics, and more. And they tend to do better than their male counterparts.”
Ashley worked as a mechanic for a year before enrolling in College, and during that time she faced discrimination not only from clients but from her friends and family. “It was very frustrating having to deal with sexism, but at the same time I found more purpose to be the best I could be and show that I am just as qualified and can do the same or even a better job than my male colleagues,” she says.
Ashley’s ultimate goal is to work as a technician for General Motors. She currently holds six Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications.
The industry – Facts and Numbers
The automotive industry is expected to grow 6 percent through 2026. As of 2017, the median pay was $39,550 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Interested in pursuing a career in Automotive Technology? Visit the program’s website.
Register for an information session and program tour here.
Learn more about career opportunities in the Industry, Manufacturing, Construction, and Transportation (IMCT) Pathway, here.