PYLUSD Sponsors “Empowered: Women in Industry Conference”

Panelists will include Sue Enquist, Erin Underhill, Michelle Barlow, and Candy Plahy.

PYLUSD is sponsoring a  “Women in Industry Conference” to be held at Valencia High School auditorium on October 17th from 6:00 to 8:30.

“Empowered: Woman in Industry Conference” which is open to the public and free of cost, is an event that is meant to “inspire the next generation of female leaders through the ways of the 21 century,” according to the PYLUSD website.

In an interview with the Matador Messenger,  Dr. Nancy Watkins, PYLUSD Administrator of Secondary Curriculum and Instructor for PYLUSD stated,  that she  was inspired to set up this conference so she get more young women interested in technical education careers (CTE).

According to PYLUSD, presenters at the conference include industry leaders such as  Erin Underhill. Vice President for Universal Television, and Michelle Barlow, the Assistant Director of Facilities  who helped construct the ” Wizarding World of Harry Potter” and helped with the pre-construction of the Los Angeles Football Club Stadium.

The conference will  be run as a panel, with  student hosts asking the expert women  panelists questions.  Sue Enquist, known as the UCLA women’s softball “Coaching Legend,” will give the keynote address and Candy Plahy, PYLUSD Deputy Superintendent, will present closing remarks. The question time for the panel will last an hour with no intermission.

Enquist is credited with and is a six time hall of famer: she has been inducted into the Women’s Sports Foundation, USA Hall of Fame, and National Fastpitch Coaches Association according to .

Career and Technology Education (CTE), according to the Glossary of Educational Reform includes preparation for such “skilled trades such as automotive technology, construction, plumbing, or electrical contracting to fields as diverse as agriculture, architecture, culinary arts, fashion design, filmmaking, forestry, engineering, healthcare, personal training, robotics, or veterinary medicine.”

According to a recent study by the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education only 25% of the people in CTE careers are women.

“One important way to help women workers move into higher-wage, higher-skill jobs is to ensure they have access to the necessary skills training to meet new opportunities and changing demands — and this training must be accessible to all,” states the American Association of University of Women (AAUW) in their website article titled, ” AAUW Issues: Career and Technical Education.”

“Hurdles such as the lack of role models, proper career counseling about nontraditional fields, sex-based harassment, and overt discrimination are only a few examples of challenges women face in CTE,” added the source.

“I hope young women find motivation to explore their interests and develop the confidence to try new things,” stated Dr. Watkins. “Take risks and trust yourself and your skills. Explore, try, make mistakes, learn a lesson and try again.  Success comes from pushing yourself and moving through the world with confidence and initiative. Seek mentors and seize opportunities.”