Bianca Emmons changes career after years of working in education
Carpentry Program Graduate
Bianca Emmons '22 worked in education for five years, but her school eliminated her position as a social worker last spring. Instead of returning to social work, Emmons decided to change her profession completely. So, she enrolled in Summit Academy OIC to train for a career in carpentry.
"I did four years for my undergrad. I did another four years for my masters, and then I did 20 weeks at Summit, and it was awesome," said Emmons. "I wanted to become more familiar with tools, and I see myself thriving in the construction field first and foremost. Being able to put something together and then step back and know, 'I did this,' or 'I had a part in this,' is rewarding."
Often, people experience a financial setback when switching careers. However, the training courses at Summit are offered at no cost to students, which Emmons found very helpful. "I don't have to worry about how I'm going to finish school or pay tuition. I can focus on my studies, and that takes a big burden off my back," said Emmons.
Emmons was eager to use power tools and equipment but trusted the learning process. She understood she had to "walk before she could crawl," thereby learning the carpentry basics in Phase I before progressing to the hands-on projects in Phase II. "Being able to apply a lot of what we learned in the classroom was valuable. I liked building the tiny house from the foundation up to the double top plates in the back area," said Emmons.
As Emmons prepared for the mock interviews and the hiring fair, she felt nervous about talking with carpentry employers about how she could connect the dots between her past experience and new opportunities. However, professional development instructor, Shameika Marshall, helped Emmons adapt her existing resume to highlight transferable and carpentry skills she developed.
"It's my first time interviewing in the carpentry field but having the tools that Ms. Shameika provided us helped me feel more at ease. When I sat in front of the employer, talking with them came naturally because we had time to rehearse and practice," said Emmons. After graduating with an industry-recognized certificate in carpentry, Emmons works as a framer at Stevens Construction.
Summit laid the groundwork for Emmons to explore new paths in the construction industry, but she's constantly looking for new challenges. "Summit is a wealth of opportunities and resources. The instructors care about you and want to see you do well. I've gained a nice group of friends who are just as passionate as me about furthering their career, whether going into the electrical field or carpentry."