Actress Vivica A. Fox is amplifying the resilient stories of skilled trade workers throughout the country. She recently teamed up with 3M and Generous Films to host the premiere of a documentary created to provide a broader and deeper lens into industries that are often overlooked and underappreciated, Forbes reported.
Those who work across industries like construction, mechanics, electrical, plumbing, and other fields are the backbones of communities and drivers of the economy. Despite the essentiality of these hands-on roles, the industries have been plagued by labor shortages; often stemming from misconceptions about career paths. Amongst the myths is the lack of financial security, misapprehensions around the required knowledge and skills, and the perception that there isn’t a seat at the table for women in male-dominated fields due to underrepresentation.
The film Skilled—which was directed by filmmaker Julio Palacio and produced by Christine Arena—aims to change the narrative surrounding skilled trade workers by elevating their voices, humanizing their stories, and using the project as an avenue to expose individuals to the ins and outs of the industries. The documentary captures the journeys of four tradespeople from different walks of life who are using their career paths to inspire others to pursue skilled trade work.
Amongst those highlighted is 20-year-old plumber and author Paige Knowles who penned a children’s book titled Plumber Paige and leads a construction-focused, all-girls summer camp; welder Cedric Smith who launched his career after receiving a 3M grant to go to technical school; 3M fall protection specialist Andrea Martin; and Amazonas Electricas gaffer Anni Martinez.
“I have my own personal connections to those who work in the trades, as my oldest brother became a skilled worker after leaving the Army, and my niece has held various skilled labor positions,” Fox told People.
As part of a partnership with Teach for America, the film will be screened at schools throughout the country. “Skilled workers are vital to our global communities and economies,” 3M’s chief equity officer James Momon shared in a statement. “Because access to education and opportunity remains inequitable, we are focused on sharing ‘Skilled’ in classrooms and advancing our global commitment to create 5 million unique skilled trades and STEM learning experiences for underrepresented individuals by the end of 2025.”
Films like Skilled are needed to demystify myths about the skilled labor workforce. According to NPR, the application rate for young people seeking technical jobs dropped by 49 percent in 2022.
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