For the first time ever, women took over the Goulds Water Technology Factory School this past June. That's when the school hosted the first female-only option of its Residential Water System Product Application & Troubleshooting course. The focus of the female-only course sought to empower women through tailored education opportunities that support the unique experiences that women may face in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
"It was really all about creating the right environment and making it more comfortable," said Tom Stephan, training manager at Goulds Water Technology. "The level of comfort encouraged a culture of sharing information and asking questions. They [attendees] were very interested in helping each other succeed and sharing stories that led to a lot more discussion and collaboration."
Once announced, registration for the women-only training filled up within weeks, with 25 women from around the country ultimately enrolled in the class. Throughout the training, attendees supported each other, sharing valuable insights from their own work experiences and building a network of professionals to reach out to in the future.
Feedback from those who attended the class was overwhelmingly positive. Jennifer Gould from Gould Well Drilling Inc., said, "There was a great advantage to come to this. It was interesting to see the women-only aspect and how the women were able to have the instructor bridge several topics to be more appropriate for the attendees."
Michelle McDonal really appreciated all the women who attended. "I like the feedback and seeing everyone from different locations excited me," she said. "I've been in the industry for 31 years, so just knowing more women are in the industry now then there was 30 years ago is a big deal."
The initiative has empowered women to pursue further education in an environment where they feel valued and comfortable asking questions, resulting in a significant shift in the dynamics of technical training. Inspired by the success, Goulds Water Technology is committed to maintaining momentum by staying connected with the inaugural class through online training sessions. They also have plans to expand this initiative into the future. Recognizing the clear demand for tailored training, the school plans to introduce female classes into its schedule for 2024.