Niagara’s Young Women To Hear From Inspiring Females, Learn About Careers In Trades And Technology

Niagara College (NC), the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN), Niagara Catholic District School Board (Niagara Catholic) and Ontario Power Generation (OPG), partner to host Exploring Your Future – Dream It, Believe It, Do It series, kicking off October 29

Starting this month and continuing through Spring 2021, Niagara College will play virtual host to female high school students across Niagara who will explore careers in trades and technology. Exploring Your Future – Dream It, Believe It, Do It is a new partnership between NC, DSBN, Niagara Catholic and event sponsor OPG to make female students aware of the many lucrative career pathways that exist in industries they may not have traditionally considered.

Jessica Polak

The online series kicks off on Thursday, October 29 at 3:30 p.m. via Zoom, where over 120 students will have the opportunity to hear from female mentors whose stories, experiences, and advice will inspire young women to think about exciting careers in trades and technology. Guests include keynote speaker Jessica Polak, OPG’s senior projects director, Darlington Nuclear Refurbishment, and Lisa Caruso, a professor in NC’s Mechanical Techniques program.

“Ontario Power Generation is proud to sponsor this collaborative event, which is about giving young women an opportunity to explore careers related to math, science and technology,” said Polak. “Hopefully, these interactive sessions will spark their interest in furthering their education in these areas.”

“I have enjoyed a career as a tool and die maker in the manufacturing industry for over 25 years, and now I am fortunate to help train the future generation of skilled workers,” said Caruso. “I hope that sharing my experience will inspire young women to consider a career in the trades and encourage more female representation in the industry.”

Students will have the opportunity to learn more about specific career paths through additional events that they can register for based on their interests.

Future sector-specific events include:

  • Thursday, November 26, 2020: Construction – with Annette Dearling-Manchester, professor, School of Trades, Niagara College
  • Thursday, February 18, 2021: Motive Power – with Emily Chung, licensed automotive service technician and owner, AutoNiche Auto Repair Services
  • Thursday, March 11, 2021: Industrial and Power Technologies – with electrical & control technicians from Ontario Power Generation
  • Thursday, April 29, 2021: Service Sector – with Selah Schmoll, co-owner, Incoho restaurant

All events will be held at 3:30 p.m. via Zoom.

In advance of each event, registrants will receive an event package filled with career resources, as well as a program guide and swag from NC.

“Students will also get materials sent to them so they can participate in hands-on activities during the virtual sector-specific events, from wherever they’re tuning in from,” said Jill Russell, DSBN Consultant for Technological Education and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program. “Our students really value the chance to hear from strong, enthusiastic, and accomplished female mentors, so it’s important that we’ve been creative and moved this opportunity online.”

“This is an incredible opportunity for the young women in Niagara, to learn from trailblazers who are leading the way in the skilled trades and technology,” said Ivana Galante, Niagara Catholic’s Business-Techology/Specialist High Skills Major/Co-op/Ontario Youth Apprenticeship consultant. I encourage all of our participants to keep an open mind and be willing to learn about the amazing opportunities available to them.”

Female students interested in registering or learning more about these events are encouraged to reach out to their school guidance counsellor.

The Exploring Your Future series is the latest effort from NC and its valued partners to inspire young women to seek career opportunities in trades and technology. Both school boards have held previous in-person events encouraging female high school students to explore traditionally male-dominated fields.

Comments from past student participants

“Hearing from successful female mentors has really changed my perspective. I will definitely keep an open mind about going into the trades.” – A grade 10 DSBN student

“The main message I will take from this event is to be open to new opportunities. Girls can do anything they put their mind to and do it with power and strive to be great.” – A Grade 10 Niagara Catholic student

Niagara College offers more than 150 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information, visit

The District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) is the largest public school board in Niagara. The DSBN serves over 37,000 elementary and secondary students in elementary and secondary schools across the Niagara region. The DSBN is committed to ensuring all students have the individual support and resources they need to reach their full potential. For more information, visit

Niagara Catholic provides excellence in Catholic education to 21,000 students throughout Niagara. We nurture the souls and build the minds of our students, from Kindergarten through graduation.

OPG is a climate change leader and the largest clean electricity generator in the province, providing more than half of the power Ontarians rely on every day. It is also one of the most diverse generators in North America, with expertise in nuclear, hydroelectric, biomass, solar and natural gas technologies.

(Source: Niagara College news release)

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