In her twenties, Leyla was a server working at different hotels during banquets and weddings dealing with schedules that weren’t great and living off tips which weren’t steady. Looking for different opportunities, she learned about the iron workers. “I started ironwork in 2017 when I was 33. I thought I was too old but the people I interviewed with said they encouraged people in my age range to apply,” said Leyla.
Leyla graduated from her apprenticeship program in 2020 and is now a journeyperson. Her favorite project was working on a parking ramp at the Minneapolis – St. Paul Airport. “It was so intense, it was such a huge project and we had to keep up with a quick time frame to get our part done. It was rewarding to look back at what we did every day.”
“The guys that I worked with have wanted me to succeed and the level of support on jobs is great. The foreman and journeymen want me to make it. There are really smart people out there and they are willing to show you – you need to want to learn,” Layla says.
“I like being in a union because I know that people have your back if something happens. There are benefits, competitive wages, insurance – all those rolled into one job. I take pride in building things that people use every day.”