Jen Brallier is the only woman on her 14-person team of bricklayers. Brallier, 43, is an apprentice learning the ropes of bricklaying in Portland by working hands-on in the industry. She’s two months into a four-year apprenticeship program that will ultimately help her earn journey-level certification and upwards of $40 an hour doing brickwork on buildings. It’s a second career for Brallier, who worked for 17 years in the Reynolds School District. Brallier made only $26,000 a year as an education assistant, she said. She switched to a new pathway in the trades so she could move out of poverty.
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