Choosing unconventional careers continues to keep black women on top

Author: Sherri Kolade
Michigan Chronicle

The fields of technology, law, construction and some business sectors are in dire need of black women, black women are always ahead of the curve wherever they go.

However, there is still much to be desired. Among black women who leave the workforce in high numbers (according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) who are still unpaid; there are many gaps in various job sectors that need to be addressed.

According to Health Affairs, while many workforce segments have low percentages of black women working, the healthcare field is oversaturated with this demographic group, more than any other population segment.

The health care sector employs 23 percent, or more than one in five black women, in the workforce; black women in that group work most in the long-term care industry at 37 percent and in positions requiring licensure as nurses or practical assistants at 42 percent.

Dr. Kezzmekia Corbett played a crucial role in stopping the COVID-19 pandemic by cracking the code of a vaccine. (Photo courtesy of Harvard University)

In fact, it was a black woman, Dr. Kezzmekia Corbett, who came to the rescue when COVID-19 swept the world. The National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Library of Medicine developed an early iteration of the vaccine responsible for saving lives around the world.

The Center for American Progress, a neutral and independent think tank, said that while black women have entered more diverse fields over time, they have also experienced significant occupational segregation, which concentrates them in low-compensation and low-mobility positions.

Research establishes a connection between the status of black women in the workforce and the racial and sexist historical legacies of the division of housework and caregiving during slavery.

Black women often face opposition because they are not seen as conforming to traditional, predominantly male norms of success, even after moving into jobs traditionally occupied by men or white workers and climbing the career ladder in managerial or leadership roles, according to American Progress. This limited view reinforces a myth that reduces Black women’s job opportunities and creates barriers to future professional success.

Cherri harris
Cherri Harris, CEO and founder of Swint Logistics Group, a Detroit-based trucking, transportation and consulting firm that is a Black woman-owned business. (Photo courtesy of LinkedIn)

Cherri Harris, president and CEO of Swint Logistics Group, told the Michigan Chronicle that she began her unusual career choice by starting out as a truck driver for her Detroit-based company.

Harris said his company has branched out from trucks to add commercial construction, training, consulting and specialized services such as asphalt paving and underground cameras for main sewers.

She prides herself on being an award-winning certified minority women-owned company with numerous Wayne County and federal certifications, among others.

“These certificates are very beneficial. Our Wayne County certification paved the way for us to be able to bid,” he said.

Harris said for other black women like her who are interested in trucking or other careers, it’s always a good idea to network with people in those industries.

“Having a great reputation is more valuable than money. The relationships you make in business will help you expand your business, meet new people, learn new things and make money along the way,” he said. “Therefore, it is very important for me to be responsive, productive and, above all, responsible. I highly recommend that every black woman in the trucking industry have a mentor. Your mentor should be someone who is very successful in the industry and willing to help and lend a hand to help you become a better business owner.”

It’s increasingly common for black women to start in this industry, even though, according to the US Census Bureau, more than 90 percent of truckers are men.

Workers in the trucking industry are gaining many new colleagues nationwide, especially black women who are pursuing it as a viable career.

In some cases, truck drivers are “aging out”. Black women have been swallowed up by the 3 million truckers in 18 wheelers and big trucks, and there are plenty of those drivers around.

Harris added that having a seat at the table means “being willing to sit at that table.”

“You have to earn that seat at the table. It’s very important to get to the table and it comes with a lot of work and determination,” he said, adding that his firm is at the table with Barton Malow, Wayne County and Bedrock for one of the company’s largest contracts. the history “It requires a lot of work, time and money.”

Harris said she does everything for her daughter as a single mother.

“I’ve been a single mom since day one,” she said, adding that this field helped her learn something new and take risks, which she encourages others to do. “Think outside the box. Go to an industry that is rarely thought of, because not everyone is into it.’

Asia hamilton
Detroit Entertainment Curator Asia Hamilton is the founder and chief curator of the Norwest Gallery of Art. (Photo courtesy of LinkedIn)

Asia Hamilton, artist-photographer, founder and chief curator at Norwest Gallery of Art, agrees.

Hamilton also, a Detroit Entertainment Curator Representing District 1, she told the Michigan Chronicle that while her tenure as art curator is dominated by women, it’s not necessarily filled with women of color, and the opposite is true in the photography industry.

[It is] especially as a white male-dominated commercial industry,” he said, adding that it was apparently “two strikes against him.”

“I definitely had to create my own path,” Hamilton said. “Women have to create their own path. Maybe not [get] most of those big commercial concerts [White] men would get it, but we [have] to what we could do.”

However, he said mentoring other like-minded people goes a long way in building relationships, friendships, etc.

[With] The camaraderie is definitely, you know, you have options…if you need to buy ammo or equipment or whatever you need to buy to get your career going. [in order]” said Hamilton.

This the message It was originally published in Michigan Chronicle.

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