“I’ve always been climbing trees since I was a kid,” Grace says. “I feel more comfortable up there than I do on the ground.”
Grace is busily studying the Urban Forestry trade at Northlands Job Corps Academy, having recently completed the introductory portion of the program, and practicing the identification of trees, throwing lines into them and perfecting knots. Now she is learning pruning and the operation of chainsaws and other equipment.
Urban forestry involves the care and management of urban tree populations for the purpose of improving the urban infrastructure and environment. When asked if she considers Urban Forestry a non-traditional trade for a young woman, Grace shrugs, saying she never really thought about it. “I wasn’t raised with standard gender roles. I had Barbie dolls, but I also had Matchbox cars and Legos, and played out in the mud.
“My feeling is, if you think you can do it, go for it.”
The 18-year-old hails from Baldwinsville, New York, coming to Northlands after hearing about Job Corps from a friend. She also recently completed a week-long first responder course at Edison Job Corps in New Jersey.
Grace encourages others to consider the program. “If you have the right attitude, it’s a really good program,” she says. “You get out of it what you put into it.”