Union’s Peer-To-Peer Fundraiser Benefit Tools & Tiaras Inc., A Tradeswoman-Founded Nonprofit On A Mission To Show Girls That “Jobs Don’t Have Genders”
In its ongoing efforts to champion equity for women in the construction industry, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) recently made a substantial donation to Tools & Tiaras, Inc., the girl-empowering, trades jobs-focused nonprofit founded in 2017 by history-making plumber, Judaline Cassidy. Funds raised came from individual SMART union member contributions, made in direct support of Tools & Tiaras’ innovative programming, including its 2021 Summer Construction Camp for girls in New York City, the first in-person camp the organization has been able to host since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Women’s Committee of SMART organized the peer-to-peer fundraiser this past March in recognition of Women’s History Month and Women in Construction Week. SMART members, which include sheet metal workers, service technicians, bus operators, engineers, conductors, sign workers, welders, production employees and more throughout the United States and Canada, were inspired to make individual donations to Tools & Tiaras Inc. Every dollar contributed directly supports the nonprofit’s mission: to expose girls (age 6-17), especially those in underserved communities, to skilled trades jobs like electrician, carpenter, plumber, auto mechanic, in addition to STEM and other fields in which women are underrepresented. They do this through hands-on, mentoring workshops – both in-person and virtual – led by tradeswomen leaders and special guest experts. In addition, Tools & Tiaras’ signature curriculum helps girls develop T.O.O.L.S (Total Ownership Of Life Skills) that will serve them no matter what career path they choose.
Tools & Tiaras’ ultimate goal is to bring long overdue change to the trades, an industry in which the number of women has stagnated at 3% since the 1970s. “What we do is critically necessary because you have to see it to be it. We are determined to make sure girls and young women see that ‘Jobs Don’t Have Genders’, so they know that these rewarding and lucrative trades jobs are viable options for them,” Judaline Cassidy, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Tools & Tiaras Inc. shared. “This generous donation from our sisters and brothers from the SMART family will help us do that. Together, we will change our industry for the better.”
SMART General President Joseph Sellers, Jr. said, “SMART was honored to support Tools & Tiaras in its mission to bring more women and people of color into the union ranks. Tools & Tiaras is a remarkable organization that is showing a new generation how a career in the trades is a path to good-paying middle-class union jobs with outstanding benefits.” He added, “SMART is strongly committed to recruiting, welcoming, and retaining members from diverse communities, and the union enthusiastically supports Tools & Tiaras and its important mission.”
The in-person cohort of the 2021 Tools & Tiaras Summer Construction Camp was hosted from July 12-16 in New York City, and featured workshops from iconic brands including Turner Construction, American Standard and Mercedes-Benz. The organization’s virtual summer camp is scheduled to run from August 9-13, allowing girls from across the United States to participate. The organization’s Fall programming line-up will be announced in the coming weeks.
What You Should Know About Tools & Tiaras
Tools & Tiaras Inc. is the pioneering nonprofit founded in 2017 by history-making Feminist Plumber and Tradeswoman Activist, Judaline Cassidy. Through hands-on, mentoring workshops and summer camps led by tradeswomen leaders, the organization introduces girls and young women (age 6-17) to skilled trades jobs like electrician, carpenter, plumber, and auto mechanic. Girls gain awareness of these rewarding and lucrative career options, along with invaluable life-skills. Ultimately, Tools & Tiaras is empowering girls with the grit, moxie, and self-confidence needed to succeed in whatever professional path they choose. Judaline, a union plumber who has spent the last 25+ years supporting the trades and fighting for equity for women in the construction industry, was named one of CNN’s 2020 ‘Champions For Change’. Through Tools & Tiaras, she is ushering in the next generation of tradeswomen.
What You Should Know About SMART
SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, is one of North America’s most dynamic and diverse unions with around 203,000 members. Its members ensure the quality of the air we breathe, promote energy efficiency, produce and provide the vital services that move products to market and passengers to their destinations. Its members are sheet metal workers, service technicians, bus operators, engineers, conductors, sign workers, welders, production employees and more. With members in scores of different occupations, the union advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence at work and opportunity for all working families.