Editor’s Note: LaborPress is proud to present the 2022 Outstanding Apprentice of the Year Awards for Long Island and New York City on Thursday, June 16, hosted by Teamsters Local 282 in Lake Success, NY.  Today, we continue our ongoing series leading up to this year’s gala event introducing each of those fascinating and inspiring award-winners to the wider labor movement.

New York, NY – Steamfitters Local 638 Apprentice Elizabeth Scrubb’s favorite motto is, “Love what you do, and do what you love.” The 35-year-old former pre-school teacher’s assistant is in the fourth year of her union’s rigorous five-year apprenticeship program — and couldn’t be happier about the career switch she’s made.

Elizabeth Scrubb left the pre-school classroom behind for an exciting new career with Steamfitters Local 638. 

“I love it. I mean, you get to learn something new every day and that’s what I love about the job,” Scrubb says. I actually love coming to work. Honestly, I just posted today, ‘I love what I do,’ and, ‘love what you do, and do what you love.’  I honestly enjoy coming to work.”

Since leaving the preschool behind, Scrubb now spends her days tackling all types of complex heating and cooling systems, welding, brazing, soldering and more.

When asked what it’s like being a woman in a male-dominated field and what she might advise other women looking to get into the program — the certified welder says, “I don’t feel like I don’t fit in because I’m a woman. I fit right in with those guys. They treat me with respect.”

That respect extends all the way to pay equity, as well.

“I don’t have to worry about getting paid the same either,” Scrubb says. “We all get the same. It’s not like a lot of fields where women go in where they feel like they don’t get equal pay when they do the same work. Within the union, you get the same set salary as a man. Being a woman in a male-dominated field shows equality and it gives us the confidence that we are capable of doing anything we put our minds to.

As a Local 638 Steamfitter, Scrubb is used to referring to her co-workers as “brothers and sisters.”

“[That makes] you feel like you’re a part of a family,” she says. “I recommend [Building] Trades of any kind to all women. It provides great opportunities to learn skills to become more independent. It’s an essential job that is always in demand.”

Scrubb is currently working on a NYHCA project in Coney Island with Welkin Mechanical, installing a new boiler system that will be able to withstand another Hurricane Sandy, she says. 

Her plan for the future is to become a welding instructor, so she can “teach and help others learn to develop the proper techniques and skills to become a better Steamfitter,” she says.

Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, the mother of two — Jayla and Julien — currently lives in the Bronx. “I would like to thank my parents Recardo and Patsy Scrubb, Aunty Roxanne, my grandmother and everyone from Steamfitters Local 638 that has been guiding me throughout this journey.”


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