Construction trades are extraordinarily male – less than 2 percent of carpenters are women. But Madison College is hoping to change that. Three of their four instructors are women.
Allie Berenyi went to MIT and majored in chemistry. But while she was good at it, it wasn’t her passion.
“The day-to-day life of being a chemist was very unappealing,” says Berenyi.
But when a friend went into construction, Berenyi was intrigued and talked her way into a job on a building site. She was the only woman.
“There were times when men would say things or do things that were completely inappropriate,” says Berenyi.
But Berenyi stuck with it, eventually becoming a teacher of carpentry.
“One of the things I love about being a carpenter is that it’s a skill that’s very tangible,” describes Berenyi.
She loves working with students. Like any career, it isn’t easy for them. One of her students really struggled with the math involved but he kept working and landed a great job. Seeing her students succeed is the most gratifying part of her job.
“Carpentry seems to be an outlet for people who maybe have done something they thought they were supposed to do but now they are doing what they want to do,” says Berenyi.