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‘Utah Women in Trades’ aims to close gender wage gap

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SALT LAKE CITY — Senate Minority Leader Karen Mayne is pushing for more opportunities for Utah women in the workforce, but she’s not just focusing on the usual jobs.

In an upcoming career conference, Sen. Mayne (UT-D) plans to highlight opportunities for women to earn the same salary as men by working trade jobs.

“We do have a gender wage gap in Utah and it’s 70 cents on the dollar,” said Sen. Mayne. “Why should we make 70 cents when they make a dollar? In the trade, you’re paid for your skill. It doesn’t matter your gender.”

That’s what Francine Yazzie has found since she joined the trade.

“As a child, I saw a trackhoe loading a truck, and I said, that’s what I want to do,” said Yazzie. “I remember I was about four years old when I said that.”

But it took Yazzie until 2008 to realize her childhood dreams.

“I was a pre-school teacher, I was an un-employment, insurance claim-taker,” said Yazzie. “I even worked at Burger King.”

Then Yazzie lost her husband in 1999 and, even with two jobs, she wasn’t making enough to support herself and her three boys.

“It’s terrifying,” said Yazzie. “For a while there I just wanted to stick my head in the sand.”

For Yazzie and her family, a trade job was the perfect fit—she now works as a Heavy Equipment Operator, building Utah’s roads.

“Everyday I wake up and thank God for a happy day,” said Yazzi. “Another day to make good memories.”

That’s what Sen. Mayne said she, along with Utah Women in Trades, hopes to accomplish with her career conference.

The conference will be held on Monday, April 15th at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center—1355 W. 3100 S, West Valley City.

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