Women who build

As you consider a career in construction, you might find it helpful to hear from other women who have already made that choice. Take a moment to read their stories, get inspired – and see why a career in construction may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Changing Course

Patricia Allen
Journeyman, Laborer, Local 300

As a child, Patricia was determined to be different and reject the gender roles that were expected of her. After making some mistakes in her youth that resulted in interactions with the criminal justice system, Patricia decided that she needed to change the course of her life. Fourteen years ago, she found the change she was looking for when a friend suggested she consider a career in construction. She encouraged Patricia to register for the Laborers Union Bootcamp, which is just what Patricia did.

During her training, Patricia earned the respect of her female peers by motivating them to overcome their fear of entering a male-dominated field. Patricia constantly reminded them to work hard because, she said, “You are only as good as your training.” Throughout her career in construction, Patricia has been able to provide a comfortable life for herself and her son. She is proud to have the distinction of being the first female miner on the Westside Purple Line Extension Project.


Kicking Fear to the Curb

Natalie Cervantes
Apprentice, Electrician, Local IBEW 11

Natalie Cervantes is a 29-year-old inside wireman who has been working on the Purple Line Extension 1 Project for 1.5 years. Prior to choosing a career in construction, Natalie was self-employed and struggling to make ends meet. As a mother of four, she was in a tough position. Her new career not only provides her with a stable, well-paying job, it gives her the opportunity to learn something new every day – which keeps things interesting.

Now Natalie has great benefits and better working hours, so when she finishes work, she still has time to take care of her kids. And with her better pay, she can consistently provide for her family and stay in top of her bills.

Crafting a new Path for Women

Jenna Dorrough
Journeywoman, Carpenter Instructor, Local 909

While working as a security officer on a construction site, Jenna Durrough was inspired to see women working in an industry that she had always assumed to be male-dominated. So, in 2017 she enrolled in and graduated from W.I.N.T.E.R.’s (Women in Non-Traditional Employment Roles) Apprenticeship Readiness Program. She quickly joined the Carpenter’s Union and was subsequently honored by W.I.N.T.E.R. as the Female Tradeswoman of the Year. Today Jenna is an instructor with the Southwestern Mountain States Carpenters Union, where she trains and supports women who want to follow in her footsteps.

A Journey to the Good Life

Sophia Burruel
Journeywoman, Laborer, Local 1309

A dedicated single mother of two sons and two daughters, Sophia Burruel was born and raised in San Pedro, California. Sophia first worked in the medical field at Torrance Memorial Medical Center and then transitioned to working at a refinery in the area. After the birth of her fourth child, Sophia realized she needed a new career path to support her growing family. She was introduced to the building trades by her siblings and joined Local Union 1309 in 2016. She is now a journeywoman working on Metro’s Eastside Access Improvement Project in the Crenshaw District of South LA. Sophia enjoys working with her sisters and brothers in the union, while creating special bonds with those around her. Most important, working in construction has allowed her to earn a more desirable wage, learn new skills and provide a good life for her family.

Pint-Size But Big League

Rhonda Rodriguez
Foreman, Ironworker, Local 433

When Rhonda Rodriguez was asked why she chose to begin a career in construction, she responded: “Well, I made some poor decisions in my past that didn’t allow me the opportunity to find a fulfilling career. So I had a number of dead-end jobs before I chose to work in construction. Basically, I decided to turn a bad situation into a positive one.”

Today, as the only female foreman on Metro’s SEED LA Transportation School project, Rhonda is calling the shots. Hailing from the San Gabriel Valley and standing a whopping 4 feet, 11¾ inches tall, Rhonda attended the Construction Apprentice Readiness Program at Cerritos College and then joined the Ironworkers Union Local 433.

After completing her apprenticeship and graduating to journey level, Rhonda was able to prove to her superintendent that, although she may be “small in stature,” she’s “big on performance and personality.” As foreman of her current project, Rhonda is a well-respected team member who continues to excel in her knowledge of the craft. And she takes real pleasure in helping other women choose the building trades for their next career path. After all, everyone deserves a fresh start, some saving grace and a fulfilling career.

Laborer of Love

Anna Aguirre
Journeywoman, Laborer, Local 1309

Anna Aguirre was born and raised in Downey, California, where she attended Downey High School and pursued a degree in the field of merchandising and marketing at Rio Hondo College. After graduation, Anna worked in the retail industry for 10 years. When she decided it was time to change her career path, she attended an outreach event for women in the trades and met staff from Laborers Local 1309. Anna was so fascinated by the available opportunities that she quit her job in retail and began to seek sponsorship with the Local 1309. Once sponsorship was attained, she was dispatched to Griffith Company – as a general laborer – on the Rail-to-Rail project. For the past two years, Anna has been working hard on this project and has risen to the level of a journeywoman. Anna is the proud mother of a six-year-old son and credits the Local 1309 and The Griffith Company for helping her provide a quality life for him.

A Light in the Dark

Christina Lara
Journeywoman, Laborer, Local 300

Christina Lara comes from a construction family – both her parents retired from Laborers Local 300. Until 2022 Christina installed industrial water pipelines in Pasadena, but then she became a journeywoman for Local 300 and began work on Metro’s Purple Line Extension 3 Project. Recently she was promoted to miner, which is an opportunity that few women have. Christina spends her shift working underground as a Bottom Lander, where she supports the ongoing work in the tunnels by coordinating the movement of equipment  back and forth to the surface. While her work can be exhausting, it is also rewarding. “At the end of the day, you feel like you’ve served a purpose,” she explained. “You know you’ve been successful in achieving something.”