The San Antonio Report and San Antonio Woman Magazine have partnered to create a series of three in-depth articles looking at the STEM ecosystem in San Antonio. This is the third article in that series, examining blue-collar opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math fields. Read part one and part two here.
Patty Garcia started her career as a lineworker for CPS Energy in 1988, when it was still known as City Public Service. She worked to help manually install the underground steel gas pipes and conduits that bring electricity and natural gas into people’s homes.
“I’ve always been a blue-collar worker,” said Garcia, who graduated from Lanier High School. “I always wanted to work for CPS Energy, even back then.”
Today, Garcia is one of just two fully-trained women on the utility’s 143-person underground integrated operations team. She and Letty Ortiz have worked their way up to foremen, leading three- to six-man teams on job sites regularly.
Their jobs are considered blue-collar, or “skilled technical” STEM positions — those under the science, technology, engineering and mathematics umbrella that don’t require four-year college degrees, but do still demand a certain level of technical training. These types of careers can be found across industries, including IT, computer science, engineering, energy and more.
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While STEM careers are often white-collar — think coders, engineers and doctors — jobs …