Local 551's Maria Robles Takes Recruiting to the Source
Maria met with hundreds of young ladies who are interested in the building trades
Congratulations to Local 551’s Maria Robles, who represented union tradeswomen well at the Women in Industry Conference, hosted by the Community College Petrochemical Initiative in Houston, Texas. Maria was part of an apprenticeship presentation and discussion by Dr. Sarah K. Janes, Associate Vice Chancellor of Continuing Professional Development at San Jacinto College. Maria also networked with hundreds of Conference attendees as the women passed an exhibit promoting the Texas Carpenters & Millwrights Training program.
A 20-year veteran of the construction industry, Maria started as a laborer before launching her career with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters in 2006 as an apprentice with Local 551 in Texas. She completed her training and became a journeyman carpenter just three years later.
Maria is passionate about helping other women break into the construction industry. She works with women from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana to educate them about the Central South Carpenter Regional Council’s Sisters in the Brotherhood program. Her mission is to help mentor potential carpenters or millwrights understand the opportunities for a great career as a professional craftswoman.
Maria (on the right) gave attendees good insight into the benefits of being a union carpenter
“Women have come a long way in this industry. If we come together and help each other, we can achieve even more,” Maria said. “Learning the carpentry trade gave me a meaningful and rewarding career. I am happy to help other women achieve this same success.”
Maria’s initial training covered a wide range of skills representing all areas of carpentry, from blueprint reading and framing to drywall and door hardware. She learned how to safely and effectively use hand- and power-tools, and earned certifications to operate power trucks, including driving a forklift, scissor lift, and JLG.
Ongoing skill training enabled her to learn to build booths for tradeshows, which meant learning to install carpet, floor layout, and handle booth installation and dismantling at the George R. Brown Convention Center and NRG Stadium in Houston.
She also has worked at the South Texas Project Nuclear Power Plant, erecting and dismantling scaffold. For Macy's department stores, she installed mirrors, cabinets, and showcases. After the devastating Hurricane Ike, Maria did demolition of existing structures and installed sheetrock, metal studs, and track to help in the recovery.
Currently, Maria works at the Johnson Space Center for NASA. There she has continues to broaden her skills and now installs ceilings, doors, tile floors, and completes asbestos removal.
Outside of the workplace, Maria is a mother of five and a grandmother of three.