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Fire Sprinkler Industry Seeks Women to Be Trained as Fitters

September 07, 1986

There are some dirty women out there earning $26 an hour--as sprinkler fitters--and the fire sprinkler industry is looking for more.

Applications for the industry's five-year apprenticeship program will be accepted from Sept. 15-19 and Sept. 22-26, program coordinator Harry M. Ball said.

The work is hard, physical and dirty, but starting wages are more than $8 an hour, with $1 raises every six months, Ball said. When the apprenticeship is over, journeymen, and women, fitters earn about $26 an hour plus benefits.

Ball said that out of 115 apprentices in the program, only 18 are women. The U. S. Labor Department and the State of California mandate that 21% of the sprinkler fitters be women, he said.

He said he has trouble getting women to apply because most do not know of the opportunity. "They are not aware that if they have the mechanical ability and are willing to get into the dirt of an outdoor job, they can get into these jobs," he said.

Applicants are given an aptitude test and interviewed. They are then placed on a waiting list according to their scores. When positions open, the applicants at the top of the list are given physicals and, if they pass, are sent to one of 38 companies to start their first 40-hour week. One night of class a week is also required.

Ball can be reached at (818) 968-9880.

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