More women are choosing manufacturing jobs

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis (WEAU)-- As the economy improves and businesses expand, manufacturing companies across the country are scrambling for skilled labor. And those companies are beginning to tap into a workforce traditionally left out of the industry.

Chippewa Valley Technical College says it's seeing an increase of female students in degree programs like Machine Tool and Manufacturing Engineering Technology

“I didn't really think of it as a man's job,” said Robbin Butts.

One of two women in her manufacturing engineering class, Robbin Butts says she takes pride in her work.

"What I notice in class is that we listen better. So if we are given instructions and we go to lab Donna and I are like 'ok we've got this’.” And then the guys are like ‘wait a minute what do we do’," said Butts.

Chippewa Valley Technical College Electro Mechanical Instructor Rick Schauss says, right now, there is a big push for women to enter the industry.

“I think a lot of it is their attention to detail and that they are really analytical and that’s helpful in the field," said Schauss.

CVTC currently has 18 women enrolled in their manufacturing degree programs.

"I get excited when I see another 8 week group come in and I say yeah there is another girl," said Andrea Gassen.

Gassen, who is in her second semester of mechanical tools student, says there is a misconception that industrial jobs are only physical and there is a lot more to it.

"The shape of a bottle that was machined at one time, I like to know how things are put together," said Gassen.

And she says the money doesn't hurt either.

On average CVTC manufacturing grads start out making around $20 an hour.

“It’s a good field to get into because there is always a demand and job opportunities," said student Donna Norby.