Tools and Tiaras camp equips young girls for careers in the trades

After working as the only woman at job sites for years, Judaline Cassidy is passing on her expertise and knowledge to the next generation of young girls who want to work in the trades.

Two years ago, Cassidy, who has worked in plumbing for over two decades, started Tools and Tiaras, a non-profit camp that gets tools into girls’ hands and the thought into their heads that jobs don’t have genders.

“I think a lot of people are really shocked that a woman, all women, could love a particular trade that has been so long considered masculine,” said Cassidy.

During the week-long program, the campers get an education in traditionally male-dominated trades, including plumbing, carpentry and welding. They learn a new trade every day, and then at the end of the program, they visit a construction site and are able to see all these jobs in action.

Debbie Drury, director of public affairs at LIXIL Water Technology Americas and a speaker at the camp, says girls are an untapped resource in a field that desperately needs new blood: For every five trades workers that retires, one enters the workforce.

“I think that for a long time there’s been barriers in place where girls don’t think they can do jobs that are traditionally male-dominated,” Drury said. “So we know that this is an opportunity for young girls to realize they can be empowered.”

Cassidy has her own message for her campers: Today’s ‘no’ is tomorrow’s ‘yes.’