New York, NY – These days, Nelium Hannibal’s experience helping to install advanced plumbing systems at 10 Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, couldn’t be more different from her time as a dedicated home health aide.
The 38-year-old UA Local 1 Apprentice emigrated to the U.S. from the island nation of Grenada back in 1999. But when her job as a home health aide failed to provide Hannibal and her family with the promises of the American Dream, the Brooklyn mother of two decided to look to the Union.
“I got the opportunity to graduate from college; I got the opportunity to get better healthcare — and I got the opportunity to join the middle-class, Hannibal says of her Union experience.
Despite its many rewards, constructing a career as a Union plumber wasn’t easy, however.
“I didn’t get here by myself; I had a great support team,” the UA Local 1 Apprentice says. “There were times when the going got very tough — but with the determination I had, I pushed myself harder every day to do the best I can and work harder.”
Hannibal is especially gratified to be a source of inspiration to her two children — both of whom happen to think that having a top-flight Union plumber as a mom is just “excellent.”
“My daughter always wants to be like me,” Hannibal says. “Being a woman working with my hands, it gives me great satisfaction to turn around and say, ‘yes, I did this.’ It motivates me to get up and go to work every day because I love what I do.”
Asked what advice she might give other women contemplating non-traditional careers in the Building Trades, Hannibal says, “Once you want to do something, don’t set any limits — just go for it.”