Melinda Nichols wanted to be a carpenter from the time she was five years old. Nichols attended Seattle Community College in 1972 and entered the carpentry apprenticeship program in 1973.
She applied for over 100 positions before she got her first job. In 1977, she received her journey person's card.
Nichols worked as a carpenter for 11 years before teaching at ANEW (Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Employment for Women) for seven years. Next, she ran Seattle City Light's apprenticeship programs for 8 years.
Nichols was a management member of the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council for 22 years. She worked a construction manager and director for 10 years. Nichols has spent the past three years as manager of Apprenticeship for the State of Washington Department of Labor and Industries.