Southwest HVAC News
scholarship encourages women to enter trades.
The Dwyer Group is looking for more local women to apply for
a scholarship aimed at helping women pursue technical and trade
The Waco-based company is kicking off the fourth awards cycle for
its Women in the Trades Scholarship Program.
The scholarship is worth $1,500. It can be used at any accredited
technical or trade school to obtain training in plumbing,
restoration, landscaping, HVAC service or electrical, glass and
But only 21 women have applied for the scholarship since it began in
2012. Of the nine winners so far, none are from the Waco area.
That’s something The Dwyer Group executive chairwoman Dina
Dwyer-Owens hopes will change as she continues to push for more
women to enter trade fields.
“I think historically there’s been low interest because women don’t
typically think about themselves in the trades, but I do know more
and more women are considering it now because they’re seeing more
women in it,” Dwyer-Owens said.
“It’s a matter of having enough confidence in yourself, and that’s
one of the things women struggle with is confidence. But if they
really do know the trade, if they really do know how to make the
repairs, that’s all it takes is one job and you show the customer,
‘I do know what I’m doing here.’ ”
Dwyer-Owens started the scholarship after her first experience on
CBS’ “Undercover Boss,” in which she assumed the identity of a
trainee looking to become a service technician within one of the
seven home repair franchises in The Dwyer Group.
One segment of the show centers on her interactions with Tanna
Marino, a Houston-area Mr. Appliance technician and former
stay-at-home mom. Marino told the undercover Dwyer-Owens that a Mr.
Appliance franchise owner who serviced her refrigerator asked her
firefighter husband to consider a part-time job with him, but she
decided to jump on the opportunity instead.
Marino is now part of the The Dwyer Group’s corporate team for the
Mr. Appliance brand and also sits on the Women in the Trades
“We had 647 women that contacted us within the first week after the
show aired that said, ‘How do I become a technician with one of your
brands?’ ” Dwyer- Owens said.
“For years I’ve wanted more women to be involved in the trades, and
I have just struggled with how do we get the message out that this
is available to them . . . ‘Undercover Boss’ ended up being the
Dwyer-Owens said only about 4 percent of technicians in the
company’s franchises are women, but she wants to make it close to 50
percent of the workers.
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having more female technicians can improve a franchise’s
relationship with customers. For example, she thinks a female
technician may be more comforting to certain clients, such as
single or elderly women uneasy with male repairmen in their
homes for extended work.
Technical trades can also be quite lucrative. Dwyer- Owens said
an entry-level drain cleaner may earn $35,000 a year, while some
plumbers may gross $150,000. The Dwyer Group also offers
discounts on franchise fees to employees based on their years of
service through its Hiring Individuals, Recruiting Entrepreneurs
“I think it offers women an opportunity they’ve never thought of
or considered,” Dwyer-Owens said. “The career path in the trades
is that you learn it, and then you can end up owning your own
business one day.”
Frances Worthey is director of student life at Texas State
Technical College, which has a Women in Technology student
support group. Those students trade stories and advice on topics
like being surrounded by mainly male peers and balancing their
school, work and family lives.
“Sometimes what one person is experiencing in a field can help
another person who may have felt isolated or may have felt they
were an island by themselves,” Worthey said. “That’s where
convincing them that concept of, ‘I can, you can, too,’ comes
Worthey said a technology scholarship program for women serves
as a powerful motivator to help more female students stick with
their career plans.
“There are lots of women out there that need career changes,
that need to be made aware of technical education and the many
opportunities that are available to women, and with that they
need the incentive and the encouragement to make that step
forward,” Worthey said.
How to apply
The Dwyer Group is accepting applicants for its Women in the Trades
Female applicants must be 18 or older and pursuing technical
education or training in plumbing, restoration, landscaping, HVAC
service or electrical, glass or appliance repair.
The scholarship is worth $1,500. Deadline to apply is Sept. 30.
For more information, visit
www.dwyergroup.com/women-in-trades.asp or email WITT@dwyergroup.com.