New Ventures Maine is offering a hands-on, day-long event designed to encourage girls to consider careers in fields traditionally filled more predominantly by males.

The Totally Trades Conference will bring together over 100 participants from schools throughout Aroostook County on Wednesday, April 25, on the Northern Maine Community College campus.

The Totally Trades Conference will feature sessions ranging from carpentry and heavy equipment operation to automotive technology and computer and networking technology, all providing an opportunity for the students to experience some aspect of the profession through a practical exercise.

“Totally Trades offers hands-on workshop experiences in nontraditional careers for females to girls throughout Aroostook County. We are pleased that after 15 years, this event not only still attracts and interests students county-wide, but has continued to grow over time. The conference provides an opportunity for female students to explore careers they may have not considered for themselves. We want attendees to open their thinking and remove the potential barrier of gender, when considering careers for the future,” said Suzanne Senechal-Jandreau, conference planner and regional manager of the Central Aroostook office of New Ventures Maine, a statewide organization committed to helping Maine people succeed in their workplace, business, and community.

The conference is a free, one-day event for Aroostook County girls in grades 8 through 12.  Funding for the activity is made possible through monies and in-kind services provided by the Maine Department of Education (Career and Technical Education), the Maine Department of Transportation, the Cynthia McMullen Fund, and Spectrum, as well as other local and statewide sponsors.

The conference is generously supported by the NMCC campus community, which serves as the host site for the event, and is a featured activity during the College’s recognition of April as Community College Month.

“NMCC has been very pleased to partner with this important project for more than 10 years,” said Lori Smith Student Support Specialist at NMCC.  “Technical skills and programs have always been the core of the College, long before our mission evolved into providing transfer programs leading to four-year degrees along with traditional career training. The Totally Trades event mirrors our work to demonstrate that the educational and career options we offer are for all students, regardless of gender.”

Conference registration will begin at 9:00 a.m. in the Gym.  Following an official welcome, participants will break into the first of two sessions focusing on a specific career. A large group engineering activity will wrap up the day.

Individuals seeking more information on the Totally Trades conference can go to www.totallytradesmaine.org or contact Suzanne Senechal-Jandreau at 768-9635.

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