Apprentice Spotlight: Jean Fields
The Best Career Yet
When it comes to her new career as a glazier, apprentice Jean Fields says, “I love it, and I wish I’d known about it years ago.” It’s quite a change from her earlier careers in accounting and merchandising. In May 2019, she will complete an associate degree in construction technologies from the Finishing Trades Institute of the Upper Midwest. She has been putting her knowledge to work for Empirehouse, Inc., a certified DBE women-owned Minnesota business based in Mounds View and the first ANSI-compliant certified NACC architectural glass and metal contractor in the Midwest to meet national quality and safety standards. “I drive around with my kids and point out the projects I’ve worked on,” Fields says with a laugh, adding that one of her favorite projects was the Target Center renovation. She learned about the apprenticeship program through her neighbor, Kevin Hoeft. That was nearly three years ago. She already held an associate degree in accounting and had spent her career in office settings, but she was ready for a change. A self-described tomboy growing up, Fields is a Minnesota native who spent her youth around Anoka and Coon Rapids. She and her family now live in Andover. During National Women in Construction Week in March, Fields was one of the employees featured in the Empirehouse Women in Construction News. She also has the distinction of becoming the first certified woman welder in Local 1324. What would she tell a woman looking for career training in the finishing trades? “Get into it as soon as you can, no matter your age or previous experience,” Fields advises. She believes that women will find incredible opportunities to build successful careers thanks to the comprehensive training available through the FTIUM. Looking forward to completing her apprenticeship, Jean Fields is proud to say that her youngest son, a ninth grader, is talking about following her lead and becoming a glazier, too. So someday there might be two generations of the family in the IUPAT.