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Bethany woman trains as electrician

Erica McElyea is the only woman in the program at Canadian Valley Technology Center.
BY BILL KRAMER Published: February 16, 2013

— Erica McElyea has come to a simple conclusion. She's wired differently.

A fascination with electricity drove her to explore career options in the field. The need for training led her to Canadian Valley Technology Center.

McElyea, 24, of Bethany, enrolled in the daytime Electrical Trades Technology program, despite knowing she was in unfamiliar territory.

She admits to feeling uneasy about her limited knowledge of the field and the fact there are few women in the industry.

“I knew nothing about electricity before coming here,” she said. “At my high school in St. Louis, they didn't have electrical training.

“I found that I fit in with the guys pretty much right away. When I first came, they were kind of reserved. They thought that they kind of had to watch themselves with a lady in here. I just wanted them to be themselves. They have been very supportive.”

Canadian Valley Electrical Trades instructor Micky Marsee said McElyea's drive to achieve has resulted in her being an honors student with a bright future.

“She has become a leader of the class, and you can see her confidence growing and the pride in her work,” Marsee said. “The job market is wide open for Erica in the electrical field, and I see nothing holding her back.”

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