March 26 (Bloomberg) — Sylas DeMello got her start in construction as a child pouring the foundation and nailing boards for her family's deck with her father in Tennessee.

"It was more of a chore, but I enjoyed it," said DeMello, now an apprentice at Murray Electric in Burlington, Vermont.

She makes $18 an hour and expects $25 once she has her journeyman's license next year. Her position was "an immediate step up" from an earlier $13-an-hour job as a sous chef.

DeMello, 32, is one of more than 375,000 apprentices in the U.S., according to the Department of Labor. Just 6 percent were women in 2012, a report in December from the Washington-based Center for American Progress showed.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.