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Labor Day: Women in the workforce (excerpt)

Angeli Wright, Angela Wilhelm and Maddy Jones, mjones@citizen-times.com

6:04 p.m. EDT September 4, 2016

Check out this story on citizen-times.com: http://avlne.ws/2cqUvJy

Construction Worker Brittany

Brittany James starts her day by getting her two daughters, Aubrey, 11, and Jessica, 10, ready for school. From their bus stop she heads straight to Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, where she attends engineering classes until noon. From there, she heads straight to her internship doing surveying work for GLF Construction at its site at the Asheville Regional Airport. James gets home around 7 p.m. and does her homework, makes dinner, and takes care of house chores.

Surveyor with equipment

GLF Construction intern and engineering student Brittany James carries her surveying gear- the GPS Rover used to collect data- arm in arm with her daughter Jessica James, 10, Friday Sept. 2, 2016 on the A-B Tech campus. Jessica stayed out of school for the day feeling sick, so she had to accompany her mother to campus. (Photo: Maddy Jones/mjones@citizen-times.com)

Then she repeats, four more times that week.

Last year James decided to leave her 10-year career in health care and pursue construction and engineering, and she has no regrets.

“I feel more content because I found something I love,” James said. “I like the fact that my office changes every day.”

James’ husband, Stefan, is also in construction and encouraged her to move into the field. Working toward her associate degree in engineering, James plans to then go to a four-year institution for civil engineering at either N.C. State or UNC Charlotte.

Being one of only four women among hundreds of men at her construction job, James sees the importance of bringing more women to the field.

“I would really like to see more girls and women in STEM fields,” James said. “It’s been very fulfilling for me.”

As James continues to excel in civil engineering she hopes to continue to be a positive influence for her daughters.

“I want them to see me graduate college before they graduate high school,” James said. “I want them to understand the value of a college education.”