High school girls packed the NECA/IBEW Electrical Center in Bakersfield Wednesday to attend the building trades during the Kern County Women in Trades workshop. Local trade union speakers presented the students with various career options such as plumbing, iron work and electrical trades. Financial and health package benefits for choosing a construction career were also outlined by experts in the fields. Apprenticeship Spokesman, Jennifer Vargas says construction used to be a “good old boys network” but that is changing, thanks to training opportunities such as this. Vargas adds that working alongside men in these occupations, empowers the students. Kern County Community College Chancellor, Thomas Burke says the Women in Trades Workshop event is about opening girls’ eyes and provides an opportunity for them to see they can learn jobs that were traditionally male oriented. He is concerned Kern County will not have enough skilled trade workers to accommodate the areas future economic and housing growth. The participating trade unions at the event are committed to provide paid multi-year training and certification apprenticeships for students. Burke notes that Thursday’s workshop is open to boys.