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Ever wonder what it’s like to be a woman in the trades?
UTI graduate Jazmin Rivera knows firsthand. At just 24 years old, she’s working as a diesel technician for a well-known company in the greater Los Angeles area. In addition to having mechanical skills, Jazmin has incredible passion and drive, which has led to her career success today.
Keep reading to learn all about Jazmin’s story, including her journey at UTI, her career as a diesel technician, what it’s like to be a female in a male-dominated industry, her business venture and more!
Jazmin has had an interest in the automotive industry from a young age. She was raised by her grandparents and single mother, who always told her she could be anything she wanted to be—whether it was in a male or female-dominated industry.
Growing up, Jazmin’s grandparents didn’t have the funds or ability to do repairs on their family car. She became their hands and eyes for many things and would often complete the repairs herself, which is what led her to discover that she loved working with her hands.
Jazmin’s freshman year of high school was when she really started to consider a career in the automotive industry. “I didn’t want to sit at a desk,” she says. Her family encouraged her to pursue her passion and not be afraid to do something different, which eventually led to her enrolling at UTI.
Jazmin first heard about UTI through several of her relatives and friends who had attended the school and really enjoyed it. She did her research and ended up deciding between UTI and another trade school, but ultimately chose UTI Long Beach because she loved the campus.
Jazmin didn’t realize she had a passion for diesel until she was a few months into her Auto/Diesel program. She loved her hydraulics and diesel engine courses and enjoyed them more than her automotive courses. This led her to complete the Cummins Engines Program in Houston, TX after graduating from her core program.
One of Jazmin’s favorite memories from attending UTI was when she took the power & performance course. She had a great instructor who incorporated a lot of his personal journey of building performance cars and engines into the classroom. While in this course, she had the opportunity to meet several professional drift car drivers and two NASCAR drivers.
Jazmin says that her instructors played an important role in her UTI journey. “I had great instructors that I keep in contact with to this day,” she shares.
Today, Jazmin works at Velocity Vehicle Group, formerly known as Los Angeles Freightliner. She is the company’s first official apprentice, and she learns something new every day.
According to Jazmin, Velocity is a great company to work for, and there is a lot of potential to grow. As an apprentice, she has been able to learn about what goes on behind the scenes and really immerse herself in the diesel industry, building upon the knowledge she gained at UTI. “Learning the basics at UTI is what really guides me in my day-to-day at work,” she says.
When she first started her job, Jazmin felt welcomed by the team. “I was welcomed with open arms,” she says. In fact, she works with another female technician who is also a former UTI student! However, being a female in a male-dominated industry isn’t always easy, and it comes with its pros and cons.
Being a female in the trades is rare, but it’s even rarer in the diesel industry. Jazmin shares that one of the advantages is that she is often treated with more respect and patience. At the same time, females often have to work harder. “Sometimes, as women, they don’t think we can’t handle the work. They might not bother training us properly or taking a chance on giving us specific projects,” Jazmin says. For this reason, it’s important for females to speak up and not be afraid to take on new challenges.
The number one piece of advice Jazmin would give to females in the trades, specifically in the diesel industry, is to have confidence. This is something Jazmin has struggled with, but she strives to remind herself to be confident every day.
“I often found myself not having enough confidence, even if it was something I had done before,” Jazmin shares. Learning to trust yourself and believe in your abilities is hard, especially as a woman, but it’s the key to success.
“Even if you don’t know the step-by-step process, with confidence, you can learn anything,” Jazmin says. It will work out on some days and it won’t on others—and that’s okay! Continue to push yourself and trust that you made the right choice to be in the industry.
Jazmin has big goals for the future. She hopes to continue learning more about the Cummins brand and focus more on the engine aspect of diesel. She is also looking forward to graduating her apprenticeship and advancing in her career.
In addition to being a diesel technician, Jazmin is also an entrepreneur! She, alongside her fiancé, owns a small transportation company that hauls cars across the U.S. Her fiancé focuses on driving, while she is responsible for the maintenance of the trucks and handling the accounting and management side of the business.
According to Jazmin, starting a business has been the hardest thing she’s ever done, and it has definitely had its ups and downs. However, she’s excited to continue growing the business and seeing what the future holds for her career.
From automotive and diesel to motorcycle and marine, UTI offers a wide variety of programs that can prepare you for a career in the skilled trades. To learn more, visit our programs page and request information today.
Junior Alvarez graduated from UTI Avondale's Diesel Technology Program. He works as a Caterpillar field service tech by day. And he's an entrepreneur by night.
Rogelio Ruiz is a 21-year-old diesel technician working at New Mexico oil fields and farms. He's a UTI Avondale graduate and he loves his job. This is his story.
Three teenagers go on a road trip to interview some of the country's leading automotive and diesel technicians. This is their story.
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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2) For important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rates of students who attended this program, and to review the applicable Gainful Employment disclosure, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
6) UTI graduates' achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
7) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.
10) Financial aid and scholarships are available to those who qualify. Awards vary due to specific conditions, criteria and state.
12) Based on data compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections (2016-2026), www.bls.gov, viewed October 24, 2017. The projected number of annual job openings, by job classification is: Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, 75,900; Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists, 28,300; Automotive Body and Related Repairers, 17,200. Job openings include openings due to growth and net replacements.
15) Manufacturer-paid advanced training programs are conducted by UTI’s Custom Training Group on behalf of manufacturers who determine acceptance criteria and conditions. These programs are not part of UTI’s accreditation.