Jonniece “Jay” Collins recently became the first female to win first place in masonry arts competition at the SkillsUSA statewide championship in April. As a result of her hard work, Collins is now invited to the national SkillsUSA Championships in June, where she will represent Alabama.
In addition to being an incredible Mason, Collins also stands out in the classroom for her grades – landing on the Dean’s list once and the President’s list twice. Originally from the Black Belt town of Demopolis, Collins exhibited her drive and motivation from an early age, when she worked a normal job in high school and attended Masonry classes at night. She currently works at Masonry Arts in Birmingham.
“Jay is smart, dedicated, self-motivated and a hard worker,” said Antonio Hamilton, her SkillsUSA coach. “There is no doubt in my mind she will do great things in life. She’s already accomplished greatness for our college and industry, in the state.
Following her victory at SkillsUSA, Go Build Alabama had a chance to sit down and catch up with Jay. See how she responded to our five simple questions below:
- Go Build Alabama: What is your favorite part about the work you do?
I really like being outside, and working with my hands. It’s also nice to know I have the skills and experience to build buildings that will last a lifetime.
- Go Build Alabama: Can you tell us more about your experience with the co-op?
The experience has been great, I’ve been able to work on different jobs in Birmingham, Oplika, and Pensacola since I’ve been at Masonry Arts. It has been different going to the construction field from school, but being in the co-op classes at Wallace has helped with the transition. I’ve been able to learn more about masonry and construction in general.
- Go Build Alabama: What are your plans for the future?
I’m planning to get a degree in construction management, then own my own business.
- Go Build Alabama: What do you think other women need to know about working in the construction industry?
I would caution them that construction isn’t easy. It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun and pays well.
- Go Build Alabama: Do you have any advice for other young people who may be looking to follow in your footsteps, and/or who are considering pursuing work in the construction industry?I would tell them to pray about it and seek God, and if it is something they really want to do go for it and give it your best!