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“We have a long line of tinners,” LeMire says, smiling. “I’m the only women tinner in our family.” She almost couldn’t say that. As a young mother of three in her 20s, she tried, but failed to pass the aptitude test several times. Thirteen years later, she got tutored, came back and passed, which Paulsrud said “is a great example of her stick-to-itiveness.”
She’s hoping to interest her high-school aged daughter in sheet-metal working but, so far, Joslyn isn’t convinced. LeMire laughs talking about mother-daughter shopping trips — to Home Depot or Sears.
“Mom! We have to look at tools again? Can’t we just go look at clothes?” LeMire says.
LeMire’s teacher, Pat Alfonso, calls her “really dedicated,” and full of good questions. But, with just six females in his many classes, he said some remain intimidated by the male-dominated culture. “I tell them, don’t let that bother you.”
Apprentice classes (www.smw10.org) begin in September and March, but apprenticeships can start at any point, Paulsrud said. About 300 apprentices are working at any given time, “and only a few don’t cut it,” he said.
They look for “smart people, people with good math skills, good hand-eye coordination,” he said. And people with LeMire’s dedication and work ethic.
“Mindy is an ideal candidate,” Paulsrud said. “There’s a perception that you have to be big and strong. But you don’t have to lift 150 pounds. You have to really use your noggin.”
LeMire is happy to do that. “Come to work,” she said, “and be on time. It’s life-changing if you can deal with it.”
Gail Rosenblum • 612-673-7350