HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A job fair at Dean Tech in Holyoke gave hundreds of young women the opportunity to see what jobs are available in the building trades and what those jobs pay.

Operating engineer Contina Brook works at the MGM Casino construction site in downtown Springfield where she earns the union scale of $34 an hour, helping to install elevators. “Through the union we get paid an equal wage,” Brook explained. “In the regular work force, a woman gets paid 78 cents to the man’s dollar, it’s not fair. When you go through the union, everything is fair.”

The trade school students, many from Western Massachusetts, were encouraged by the prospect of being paid the same wage as their male co-workers. Dean Tech 10th Grader Alize Rivera told 22News “I think it’s very empowering to know that women are standing up for equal rights as the same pay as a man, because we work hard and we don’t get recognition for it.”

The young women at the Holyoke Career Fair attend 18 trade schools from around the state. All are currently enrolled in vocational and technical education programs.