Step Up and Solder! Women in Tech Training Program provides instruction, training and hands-on skills for marginalized women looking to enter audio-related technical fields. Over the two-phase program, participants learn skills and gain hands-on experience within a radio environment through workshops and mentorship. The training is provided in a supportive environment to women who traditionally face barriers to employment in these male-dominated technical fields. The program prepares women for positions and further training as sound engineers, electronics technicians, audio technicians, recording engineers, music producers, electrical engineers, electricians, audio-visual technicians and/or technical entrepreneurs.
The focus is on supporting this transition of these women to employment after the program by connecting them with people in the industry, providing resume workshops and job readiness skills. People commonly acquire their first paid position in these fields after a training or internship program such as this one. Since many technical and trades positions begin with a trial period, the confidence gained by participants from their hands-on training will allow them to perform effectively during the key initial weeks on a new job.
One of the more interesting outcomes of the Step Up and Solder! program is not related specifically to electronics, but rather to how the participants approach problem solving and troubleshooting. Initially, some of the participants are nervous about not having knowledge in particular areas. We encourage the women to challenge these ideas and to trust their own logical reasoning and problem-solving abilities. The women in the program soon begin to use one another as a resource and very quickly start to feel more comfortable with applying some of the more fundamental pieces of knowledge we provide to more complex situations. This type of trouble-shooting and problem solving is empowering, and embodies the belief that you are capable of finding solutions. By the end of the program, the participants feel more confident and begin to ask more questions and ultimately to explore potential solutions. Some of the women report back that this particular skill is something that they use in areas outside of electronics and technical applications. Of course, the practice of holding and using tools and soldering irons and the lessons in electronics basics are important too; however, the confidence gained in learning how to trouble-shoot among the participants in the program is a nice bonus.