Meet Kim, a 45-year-old inspiration who is making a statement for women everywhere.
Right as the coronavirus was closing down institutions across the region, Kim was fortunate to be finishing up a 6-month, hands-on carpentry training program at JEVS’ trades school, Orleans Technical College. She has big plans in store, and the pandemic isn’t going to slow down her dreams.
Before her stint at Orleans Tech, Kim was an interior designer for 22 years and also worked in real estate investment and property maintenance, including voluntarily managing a property for homeless veterans. While managing these properties, she needed an extended line of credit from the bank. She needed to know how to secure the property, not just use her interior design skills. While running into this problem, she knew it could be solved with help from Orleans Technical College.
When Kim enrolled at the school and began the training program, it was all new territory to her. Despite any doubts, Kim found her way in no time. “When I started I thought all hammers were hand-held size, I didn’t know they had different weights! I was nervous, and the instructor said to me ‘just show up and you’ll get it’ and I did.”
Kim, like many other women, believes that women in the building and construction trades are not represented enough. “It was unheard of for a female to do this, and even my family said ‘oh no, you can’t do that.’ I didn’t think it would be fun, and thought it would be difficult, but I took it step by step and realized anyone can do it.”
One of many proudful moments during her months at Orleans Tech was building a two-story structure to scale with her classmates—many of whom were women—within their classroom. Working from blueprints drawn by their Orleans instrustor, the class constructed a coffee shop on the first level and apartment on the second. Kim wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, working on everything from the wood studs and drywall, to windows and siding. She had really come around since that first day in class.
Kim walked into the bank weeks ago wearing her Orleans Tech-issued polo shirt (her class uniform). She had credibility and was able to have the opportunity to discuss funding for future real estate ventures. Becoming a construction manager and owning her properties is her goal, and JEVS and Orleans Tech got her one step closer.
Kim is currently working with the Jumpstart Tioga neighborhood redevelopment project and hopes to continue doing community development work with the program in the near future. Kim’s ambition and drive are inspiring to other women who want to learn a trade and build a future for themselves in a non-traditional field.
> See video below for Kim and her classmates featured on NBC10 News