Earth Mover School Graduate Orpria Lawrence: November 2005

Orpria Lawrence

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Today, nearly 60% of women age 16 and over participate in the workforce. While women have made some gains in occupations traditionally occupied by men, construction trades remain overwhelmingly male dominated. In 1970, when OSHA was enacted, women made up less than one percent of workers in the construction trades. By 2000 that percentage had only grown to 2.5 percent. The construction industry as a whole is facing a nationwide crisis with respect to the availability of qualified labor. With the demand for labor outstripping supply, construction employers need to expand their recruitment efforts to previously untapped labor sources, including women. Please meet one such woman. Pictured here is Orpria Lawrence.

Orpria Lawrence graduated from National Heavy Equipment Operators School back in July of 2003. Orpria Lawrence wanted to be an equipment operator simply because she has been around construction most of her life. Orpria was a construction laborer that “got tired of the shovel”. She chose National for training because it presented a challenge. “I wanted to train in Jacksonville”, she said. “I like the idea of training away from home.”

TLMC Enterprises, Inc. in Miami is a women-owned business enterprise. Ms.Orpria Lawrence operates a Caterpillar Excavator and four wheel drive, articulating loader for TLMC. She likes being female and being in construction. “I seem to get a little more respect than normal.” She certainly has ours.

Every student that comes to us seems to have their challenges. Orpria was no different. She struggled a bit trying to dig a trench with the back-hoe that was straight. Our instructors worked with her until she could do it well enough to pass that element of the training.

Ms Lawrence hopes to move up to North Florida in the near future. When she does, she will have her National Training friends waiting. Our placement department will work with her to ensure she is employed and productive.

Ms Orpria Lawrence has shown tremendous courage to take on and succeed in this male-dominated industry. She has earned our respect and the respect of all in construction. She has earned the honor to be a National Heavy Equipment Operator School Featured Graduate!

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