100 8th grade through High School age girls from Aroostook County came to the 9th annual Totally Trades conference in Presque Isle on April 25. Totally Trades introduces girls to trade and technical careers-ones typically dominated by males-and supports girls who are already on a nontraditional career path.
Girls got to attend three workshop sessions. They could be found building a tool box, welding, working on a sheet metal cut-out, trying out computer aided drafting, exploring heavy equipment, and more throughout the day.
A highlight of the day was a panel of girls currently enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. These girls were able to share their experiences of learning in male-dominated classroom settings, and to dispel myths about girls’ ability and aptitude for work that is often viewed as “heavy,” dirty, or more suited to males. These students were role models of success-displaying confidence to pursue their passion and live the message, “you can do anything.”
Totally Trades is organized by Women, Work, and Community. Financial support is provided by the Maine Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration and the Maine Department of Education/CTE. Time Warner Cable provided t-shirts to all Totally Trades attendees this year. In addition, the Aroostook County conference was hosted by Northern Maine Community College (NMCC) and the primary local sponsors were Northern Maine Development Commission and Sarah LeClare, Attorney.
WWC helps women and men explore careers in all fields. For more information contact your regional WWC staff.