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3rd Annual Women Can Build Fair Encourages Girls to Explore Careers in Skilled Trades

“We Can Do It!”

In late October, over 100 OUSD high school students took part in the 3rd Annual Women Can Build Skilled Trades Career Fair held at the Drywall-Lathing-Carpenters Apprenticeship Training Center in Hayward. The event is organized by Tradeswomen Inc., an agency focused on increasing the number of women working in the skilled trades. Currently, less that 3% of workers in the skilled trades are women, but if these fairs are any indication, that percentage is sure to grow. Participation in the fair has quadrupled over the last three years.

Girls at Skilled Trades Fair Stations

Throughout the day, students had the opportunity to visit five skilled trades stations, speak with individuals from the trades and learn about the requirements to enter into the trades.  More importantly they got a taste of the work that trades workers do by participating in hands-on activities. Representatives from fourteen different  trade unions were involved to speak with students and lead them through activities.

 Constructing sheet metal boxes

It was a sight to see the young women using hand brakes as they formed toolboxes out of sheetmetal, pulling wiring through conduits, sweating copper pipe and troweling mud to lay brick. At each station, the young women and chaperones were heavily involved in hands-on activities from learning how to properly ignite a boiler and using an acetylene torch, to using a surveying tripod and operating the training backhoe (simulator). The torch and simulator are always a hit with our students. 

Women Can Build Fair

At the first Women Can Build Fair in 2015, OUSD sent 30 students from 6 different high schools. This year we were able to to bring 129 students and 22 chaperones from 12 of our high school programs!

Many thanks to Tradeswomen, Inc. and the Bay Area Apprenticeship Coordinators Association (BAACA) for hosting the event along with Northern California Plasterers JATC and Building Corp, the Carpenter’s Union and the Alameda County Office of Education for their generous financial support.

Huge appreciation to our OUSD chaperones and student participants from Ralph J. Bunche, Castlemont, Dewey, Fremont, Madison Park Academy, McClymonds, Oakland International, Oakland High, Rudsdale, Rudsdale Newcomer Program, Skyline, Sojourner Truth, and Emiliano Zapata Oakland Street Academy. Many thanks to the Work Based Learning Liaisons from the Work Based Learning Team at the High School/Linked Learning Office for chaperoning and coordinating outreach at the sites. 

Read more about the fair on SFGate/Oakland North.

We Can Do it: Hands on Learning