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January 31, 2017 | Around the NASRCC

Carpenters Tackling Two Issues at Once

Massachusetts Girls in Trades Announces Second Annual Conference and Career Fairs — March 2 in Dorchester and April 13 in Holyoke

LEXINGTON – Building on its initial successes, the Massachusetts Girls in Trades organization is planning its Second Annual Conference and Career Fair for hundreds of female high school students in Massachusetts. In fact, it’s planning two.

An Eastern Massachusetts conference – open to high school students enrolled in vocational technical education programs – will be held on March 2 at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 103 in Dorchester. A Western Massachusetts conference will be held on April 13 at the William J. Dean Technical High School in Holyoke.

Massachusetts Girls in Trades was established to encourage young females to consider pursuing high-wage, high-demand careers in the construction trades. The group was formed in December of 2015 at a meeting attended by representatives of Wynn Boston Harbor, Minuteman High School, the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, Sheet Metal Workers Local 17, Building Pathways, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and SkillsUSA Massachusetts.

“We’re making progress but we know there’s still plenty of work to do,” said Elizabeth Skidmore, one of the organization’s founding members and Business Representative for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. “We need to send out a positive message that young women can have great careers in the building trades.”

The first-ever Massachusetts Girls in Trades Conference and Career Fair, held in Dorchester last year, attracted more than 400 people, including over 300 students and teachers. Students from vocational-technical programs at 18 high schools listened to speeches from successful tradeswomen, attended workshops about getting into the trades, and met with representatives from unions, contractors, and apprenticeship programs.

The March 2 event this year in Dorchester will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with doors opening at 9 a.m. for registration. Admission is free. Lunch will be provided. For more information on the Eastern Massachusetts conference, please contact Maryanne Ham by phone at 781-861-6500, ext. 7323, or by e-mail at

This year, Massachusetts Girls in Trades added a second conference to better accommodate vocational high school students living in Western Massachusetts. That event will be held on April 13 at the William J. Dean Technical High School on 1045 Main Street in Holyoke. For more information on the Western Massachusetts conference, please contact Lisa Clauson by phone at 413-206-5571 or by e-mail at

Vocational students interested in registering for either conference should contact their teacher, principal, or vocational director.

Schools are invited to attend either or both of the events, regardless of geography.

Principal sponsors of this year’s event in Eastern Massachusetts will be Wynn Boston Harbor, the Massachusetts Building Trades Council AFL-CIO, Boston Metropolitan District Building Trades Council, IBEW Local 103, and Gilbane Building Company.

MGM Springfield will be a principal sponsor for the Western Massachusetts conference.

The Massachusetts Girls in Trades board includes representatives from developers and contractors including Wynn Boston Harbor, Suffolk Construction, Skanska USA Building; Turner Construction, Liberty Construction Services, and Gilbane Building Company; union groups such as IBEW Local 103, Local 103 Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee of Greater Boston, the Massachusetts Building Trades Council, Boston Metropolitan District Building Trades Council, New England Regional Council of Carpenters, Building Trades Training Directors Association of Massachusetts, and the Boston Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association; organizations such as the Building Pathways Pre-Apprenticeship Program and the Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues; the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; Massachusetts Department of Transportation Office of Diversity and Civil Rights; SkillsUSA Massachusetts; Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) CTE Directors Group; Partnerships for a Skilled Workforce, Inc.; University of Massachusetts Building Authority; U.S. Department of Labor/Women’s Bureau; the newly formed Equity in the Trades Student Leadership Council; WGBH TV; and career and technical high schools including Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, Southeastern Regional Vocational-Technical High School, and Minuteman High School.

The group holds its board meetings at Minuteman High School in Lexington.