top of page
  • Writer's pictureDonna Milgram

This is how a role model can change a life: Proof!

From Welfare to $40 per hour

This photograph was captured recently during the Women in Diesel Meet and Greet event at the College of Alameda (COA). On the left side is Monica, who previously served on a role model panel at City College of San Francisco in 2018, which Jamice attended. I played a part in organizing this panel. At that time, Jamice was receiving public assistance while raising her son. Fast forward six years later, Jamice herself was now on a role model panel, earning $40 per hour! Once she becomes a journeyman, her hourly wage will increase to $60. She is currently 3.5 years into a 5-year Apprenticeship. I am hopeful that in six years' time, I will have even more role models to share. In the background, you can see the program instructors and a representative from Peterbilt trucking company. Both women delivered incredible speeches! It was an absolute delight to finally meet them in person ❤️❤️❤️. Jamice holds the distinction of being the first female automotive apprentice for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

In 2018, City College of San Francisco approached me with a request to increase female enrollment in their automotive pre-apprenticeship program, which had initially failed to attract any women in its first cohort. To address this issue, we organized a WomenTech Automotive Bootcamp for a team of key stakeholders and I facilitated the development of a comprehensive Recruitment Plan. Additionally, IWITTS created an Outreach package specifically designed for the program. One of our success stories is Jamice, who learned about the Women and Auto Meet & Greet event from a flyer at the welfare office and decided to apply for the pre-apprenticeship program.

Within a remarkably short span of 2.5 months, City College of San Francisco witnessed a significant shift as the number of women in the Automotive Pre-Apprenticeship program increased from zero to seven. However, at that time, we faced a challenge - there were no female graduates who could serve as role models for the new students. To address this gap, I utilized social media to find Monica, and with careful preparation, she was able to share her experiences on the role model panel. Although she initially felt a bit hesitant as it was her first time speaking in public, Monica has now become a regular speaker and has even made appearances on the TV show All Girls Garage. Today, she proudly works as a Senior Heavy Equipment Mechanic for the Port of Oakland, where salaries start at $120,000.

Monica and Jamice are passionate about being Automotive/Diesel Technicians. Jamice talked about how proud she felt when a shop she left would call her regularly to ask for her help - describing the symptoms and asking her to diagnose the problem. She thought to herself “I’m only an apprentice and they are calling me for assistance!” Monica is a supervisor at the Port and she also teaches automotive repair. It’s not just about the money, it's also about their love of the work itself!

Read the CCSF Case Study and a Biography I wrote of Jamice in 2018. 

Need some help with Recruiting and Retaining STEM Students? Or producing your Women in STEM event so that the participants will convert to enrollees?

1 view


bottom of page