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Women Can! 2012: Women explore nontraditional careers

They are firefighters, welders, computer networkers and professionals in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. They are detectives and civil engineers. All of them have stable and meaningful careers, and they shared their expertise about them in Tidewater Community College’s Women Can! program.

Group of young women sitting in a row

The sixth annual event, held March 9 at the Virginia Beach campus, featured a panel of professional women who weren’t afraid to break the mold in choosing career paths that offer stability, a career ladder, fair wages and a meaningful occupation.

“Women Can! is designed to show women that many careers offer financial security that do not require a four-  or more-year degree to get started,” said Sally Daniel, Director of the Women Expanding Boundaries program at TCC. “Many such careers have generally been performed by men. However, as our speakers showed participants, women can perform well in these careers.”

The women who shared their callings with more than 100 interested females included Master Firefighter and Hazmat Specialist Dawn Hardison and firefighter Nena Myers, both of whom demonstrated proper use of fire safety equipment. Both women work for the City of Virginia Beach.

Female firefighter checks the gear of another woman            Women put on firefighter gear

TCC’s Fire Science program prepares students for work as fire administrators, arson investigators, fire training coordinators, safety directors, state training coordinators, municipal department administrators, fire insurance appraisers and fire equipment salespersons.

TCC instructor Denyse Nobles talked about careers in the automotive industry. The NATEF-certified auto technology program at TCC prepares students for entry levels careers in the industry or updates skills for those already employed.

Woman talks to group as they all look under the hood of a car

TCC welding instructor Troi Croswell gave prospective students an overview of what it means to be a welder. Croswell, a welder for nearly three decades, works for the Tecnico Corporation, which specializes in marine and industrial repair for ships.

TCC’s welding program offers a general welding focus and a maritime welding focus, allowing graduates to find opportunity in shipyards, utilities, manufacturing, marine and oil refineries.

Other speakers from Women Can! offered information on careers in Civil Engineering Technology, Computer Aided Drafting & Design (Mechanical and Architectural),  Computer Networking and Support, HVAC and Law Enforcement.