Women in Trades

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The Girliest Girl Truck Driver you Ever Did Meet

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Meet Clarissa Rankin: The girliest girl truck driver you ever did meet!

After 4 years of college, Clarissa started her career in criminal justice.

Turns out that 3 weeks of classes and a CDL license later, her husband was making more money than her. This was a wake-up call for Clarissa. Once she sat behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler, she found her calling!

Being a trucker makes Clarissa feel like a superhero knowing she is providing for the world and for her area – if you can imagine it, Clarissa has hauled it!

Clarissa loves empowering other women. She believes that by showing girls around the country that she can maneuver an 18-wheeler with ease, confidence, and poise (while men sometimes struggle) it will encourage others to step out of their comfort zone and follow their passion.

Working in the trades has allowed Clarissa to work doing what she LOVES to do, not in what she is forced to do.

Follow Clarissa’s journeys here: Clarissa Rankin

From computer engineer to dry waller, hanger & finisher!

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Straight from Pennsylvania, here comes Mari Kaschalk: A.K.A The Muddy Girl.

Mari took a huge leap by leaving behind her career as a computer engineer and learning a new trade to join her husband as a business partner.

Mari is now a drywaller, hanger & finisher.

She has been on this field for 5 years, and she is proud of the great work her company produces. Mari hopes she can pass down her family-owned business to her children.

Mari knows her work is a type of art; not everyone is capable of doing it as it takes great skills to perform.

One of Mari’s favorite aspects of working in the trades is the flexibility and independence: she sets her own schedule and has no student loans.

For Mari, success can be achieved from zeros: You may have no background but with hard work, determination and giving it your 100%, you can definitely find success in the trades.

Mari, keep building the structures for other women to see what’s possible.

Follow Mari's trade adventures on Instagram: The Muddy Girl

Redefining an Industry by Teaching From the Heart

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Have you heard of the “Weekend of Welding” Event?
If so, it’s thanks to Josey Weldz, the mastermind behind this event.

Josey is a welding instructor with a passion for serving others and with the goal to bring this skilled trade to all.

While Josey admits she has met plenty of roadblocks in a male dominated trade, she is definitely proud of what she has accomplished in this field.

Always wanting to be a welder, Josey chose a dental career instead. But 13 years into her career, she decided to pursue her passion and become a welder.

It’s been 8 years since her welding adventure started and while no one prepared her to be an African American woman in a male dominated industry, Josey continues to fight every day against stigmas in order to empower other women to join the trade.

She teaches her welding students from the heart, always trying to be a light in their path.

Josey understands not everyone learns the same way, and she tries to meet her students where they are.

It is a rewarding moment for Josey when a student shares with her a picture of their welds, and she can sense their accomplishment.

Follow Josey's adventures on Instagram: Josey Weldz

Handling Tools Like the Ultimate Rockstar!

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This is Jelissa, aka Jelly the Carpenter, a carpentry apprentice in British Columbia, Canada.

She had always wanted to be a carpenter, and after watching YouTube videos she realized she needed someone to show her how to do it. This is why an apprenticeship was the perfect fit for her!

Jelissa says she is aware that there are not a lot of women in this trade, especially Asian women. She hopes that she can inspire other girls to think “I can do it too”.

One of the most positive aspects of being in the trades has been the amount of confidence and trust Jelissa has gained in herself.

She is now confident to the point of taking new risks, running her own business, and going to school.

Jelissa knows that she is capable, she is assertive, and she is definitely happy, all attributes she gained through working the trades.

Jelissa, keep carving the path for other women who will be making a difference in the trades.

Follow Jelissa's Instagram adventures: Jelly the Carpenter

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Electrifying others with enthusiasm for a trade

This is Shannon Tymosko who electrifies others with enthusiasm and confidence when talking about her trade! 

Shannon is a 2nd year Electrical Apprentice.

She currently works on construction sites dedicating her time to the electrical aspects and she is thriving!

She has financial freedom, and a boosted confidence which she credits to her trades work.

When talking about the most rewarding part of her job, Shannon highlights her financial freedom.

Prior to dabbing into an apprenticeship, Shannon went to college and was working at a financial institution. She had high college debt and was making about $20 per hour.
Now, she makes more money as a second-year apprentice, and has been able to pay half of her college debt!

Shannon firmly believes that confidence is built through competence:
“I love the skilled trades because every day, I shock myself with what I can do. It makes me feel a little more confident about my abilities. It’s the tools and the skills that are very freeing and competence-building”

Keep on the awesome work, Shannon and keep shining the light for more women to join you in the trades!

Follow Shannon's Instagram adventures: Lady Voltz

A self-proclaimed "black unicorn" coloring the trades

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This is Isis Harris, who may not need a full introduction, as she was voted “Woman on the Rise” by the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center in 2017 and has been featured in publications including NPR to discuss her experiences as a trades worker.

To say that Isis A.K.A Sparked 4 Life  had a rough start is an understatement. Previously incarcerated, Isis’ spark for life and learning went off when she started her electrical apprenticeship.

This proud mom of 3 hasn’t looked back since her program started, and she has felt so empowered that she even started her own business!

As a self-proclaimed “Black Unicorn”, Isis believes the trades have empowered her to make positive changes in her and her children’s lives: allowing her to offer them opportunities she never had.

Through determination, assertiveness, and resilience, she is making a positive change on how the trades look for women, a group she constantly advocates for.

This unicorn of a woman is planting seeds of faith for women wanting to follow in her footsteps. 

Thank you, Isis for lighting up with sparkles the path for those behind you!

 Follow Isis' journey on Instagram: Sparked 4 Life

A late start apprentice bringing relief to others

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Meet Jessica Bannister, aka HVAC Jess.

Jess worked in the corporate world for ten years, and after little fulfillment, she took the leap to join in the trades and work in her family’s company: She is now a Level 3 HVAC Apprentice!

Jess jumped into an apprenticeship after turning 35 and regrets not having done so earlier. Unfortunately, trades were never offered to her as a career option after high school. This is why, Jess strives to bring awareness of the HVAC trade to high school girls.

For Jess, the top reward for working in the trades, is the relief she brings people: cooling a house in the heat of summer or allowing a refrigerated food business to continue operating.

Being in the trades has given Jess new-found confidence in herself, a confidence she didn’t even know she needed.

Thank you, Jess for the relief you bring to others while generating awareness to empower other women to follow suit!

Follow Jessica’s cool adventures here: HVAC Jess