Empowering Young Women at Jill of All Trades: A Day of Hands-On Learning, Mentorship and Inspiration 


We had the incredible opportunity to attend and sponsor an event that perfectly embodies the spirit of empowerment and hands-on learning: Jill of All Trades. Designed specifically for girls in grades 9-12, this event provided an immersive experience in various skilled trades, including welding, concrete work, linemen tasks, and firefighting. 

The inaugural Jill of All Trades event at C-TEC (Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County) in Newark, Ohio, was a milestone. Originating in Canada, we learned that C-TEC was the second school in the United States to host such an event. This gathering also offered young girls the chance to connect with mentors who showed them they could achieve anything they set their minds to. 

Breaking Stereotypes and Building Futures 

The Jill of All Trades event is all about breaking down gender stereotypes and encouraging young women to explore careers in fields traditionally dominated by men. By providing a supportive and engaging environment, the event aims to inspire the next generation of skilled tradeswomen and leaders. View the video from Julia Wilson to learn more about how impactful the event is for these young women. 

Matt Thompson, Director of the Postsecondary Center at C-TEC, shared, “C-TEC partnered with Jill of All Trades to encourage young ladies who may be interested in going into a skilled trade. With the support of our business and industry partners, we were able to give these girls a safe space to try something they may not typically try, and to help them realize that C-TEC is place they can continue to practice and refine these skills and pursue the many viable career options available in the trades. C-TEC’s programming aligns with what is in-demand in terms of jobs, and we want all students to know they can leave here with desired training in rewarding work.”

As sponsors, we are proud to support an initiative that aligns so closely with our values of inclusivity and empowerment. Our commitment to fostering diversity in the workplace and beyond was exemplified by the enthusiasm and curiosity of the participants, who dove headfirst into each hands-on activity. 

Highlights of the Day 

The day was packed with excitement and learning, with a variety of workshops designed to give the girls a taste of different trades. Here are some of the highlights: 

Welding Workshop: Under the guidance of experienced welders, the girls donned protective gear and learned the basics of welding creating either a triangle structure or a trophy-like statue. The sparks flew as they practiced joining metal pieces, gaining confidence and skills that could pave the way for future careers in this high-demand field. There was even a welding simulation that brought out their competitive side which was fun to see.  

Concrete Creations: In the concrete workshop, participants got their hands dirty mixing and pouring concrete. They learned about the importance of precision and teamwork in creating strong, durable structures and how to build the forms in which they poured their mixtures in. By the end of the session, they had created their concrete masterpieces which they signed and could see dried later in the day. 

Linemen Activities: The linemen workshop was particularly thrilling, as the girls had the chance to climb poles and see how the linemen use the equipment to stay safe. This challenging activity highlighted the strength and determination required for the job. 

Firefighting Drills: The firefighting station was a crowd favorite, offering a glimpse into the demanding and heroic work of firefighters. The girls participated in drills, tried on firefighting gear, and even learned how to handle a fire hose. They also got to practice CPR and see how demanding but rewarding knowing the life-saving maneuver can be. This workshop not only taught them about the trade but also emphasized the importance of bravery and quick thinking. 

Maci Adams the Corporate Trainer for Palmer-Donavin shares on her experience at the event “I am so fortunate to have participated in an event that is paving the way for young women to consider and succeed in skilled trades. It was wonderful to see the girls engaging in the activities, and learning about careers in skilled trades from other women who worked their way up in those fields!” 

Inspiring the Next Generation 

Our CEO Robyn Pollina had the pleasure of being one of the keynote speakers for the event. “I was asked to share a skill I learned along my journey to CEO, and I chose servant leadership.  It is a skill I will continue to develop, until the day I retire.  A servant leader makes sure her team has what they need, every day, to be successful”. This message fits right in with the agenda as we hope these participants learned that entering the trades which are typically male-dominated will take fostering collaboration and inclusivity, building trust and credibility, and leveraging unique strengths which are all benefits of practicing servant leadership.  

One of the most rewarding aspects of Jill of All Trades was witnessing the transformation in the participants. Many arrived with little to no experience in these trades, and some were even unsure if they would enjoy the activities. By the end of the day, there was a sense of accomplishment and newfound interest in one of the areas they experienced. 

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