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Nicole, Building Trades Student at Northwest Career and Technical Center

Why I chose to pursue an education in the building trades:
When I first decided to join the building trades program at NCTC (Northwest Career and Technical Center), I had no intention of having a career in the trades. I had only joined the class because I wanted to learn practical life skills that I couldn't learn by sitting in a classroom. After spending 3 years in the building trades program, I have learned many skills and have recently decided I want to have a future career in the trades. 

Which classes have been your favorite and why?
Throughout my time in the building trades program, I have been able to experience many different classes. Just last year I had the opportunity to take a welding class. I had never welded before and, after taking this class, I learned that I am actually pretty good at it. This class gave me the chance to experience something that I thought I'd never be able to.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?
The most interesting project that I have ever worked on was the expansion of a local community kitchen (Martha's Kitchen). Martha's Kitchen is a place in my town where everyone is invited to come and get a meal free of charge. For this project, my class had to demolish the back side of Martha's Kitchen and expand it another 20 feet. We did all the work for this project, putting in a concrete slab, framing, drywall, siding, roofing, and all the electrical. This project, although one of the longest projects I have worked on, was the most interesting project I have been a part of. This project was special to me because I got to work with my classmates to help improve our own community.

What has your experience getting into the trades been like for you?  
Most of the students in my class have had family members who also attended building trades program or have extensive experience in the trades already. Growing up in a house full of girls, I never really had anyone to show me the skills that I’ve learned in the building trades program. Not only has the building trades program helped me learn the skills I wanted to learn, but it has also given me a second family. My teacher, Mark Capsey, has inspired me so much over the past few years. He makes sure that everyone gets an equal opportunity to try things, no matter their skill level, and helps them learn along the way.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope to have launched my career and started or getting ready to start my own business. I am currently taking classes to get my CDL (Commercial Driver's License), so If I haven't started my business yet, I see myself working for a great company driving semi-trucks.

What advice would you give to young women considering entering trade school?
I have learned many things since I started in the building trades program. Advice I would give to other women considering the trades is to stick up for yourself and be your own advocate. As a female in the trades, people often look down upon you or often question you for being in the trades in the first place. Many people will overlook our skills and potential so make them see it!

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