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Women wear hard hats too: Talia Vasquez enters construction field

Carpentry Program Graduate

“I’m a woman. If a man can be a carpenter, I can do it too,” said Talia Vasquez ’22. Vasquez jumpstarted her carpentry career at Summit Academy OIC, entering a field that is still predominately men but attracting more women professionals each year.

“Carpentry has always been my career goal since I was a little kid. It has always been my thing,” said Vasquez. “I am a hands-on person, and I like to do hard labor. I feel this training experience and certificate are really good for me.” Vasquez’s neighbor is an alumnus who told her about Summit’s 20-week Carpentry program.

During the first few weeks of Phase I, Vasquez found learning how to read a tape measurer and a blueprint challenging. “I struggled a lot, and there were days I wanted to give up. It got really challenging to the point where I did consider dropping out,” said Vasquez.

However, Vasquez’s instructors and her inner determination to finish what she started kept her motivated to come to class. “I thought to myself, ‘I’m already here. Why would I want to give up?’ I like to be pushed because if I’m not pushed, then I’m probably not going to try my hardest,” said Vasquez.

Vasquez especially appreciated all the resources Summit provided her with through the federal CARES Act, which provided temporary financial assistance for students during the COVID-19 pandemic. During her weeks at Summit, Vasquez became more confident in her skillset and identified what she liked and did not like to do.

“I like a lot of wood framing, working with power tools, and circular saws. I like everything but metal studs. Metal stuff is probably my weakness,” said Vasquez. Some of the projects she completed during Phase II of her classes included a Chevy logo, a base trim, a push stick, and a train.

Today, Vasquez works as a carpenter at Steven’s Construction. She aims to become a business owner focusing on affordable housing and helping communities learn the carpentry trade. Vasquez is confident the knowledge and professional skills she gained at Summit are the start of a successful career.

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