Mike – My name is Joe Drew. I’m a small business owner doing residential carpentry. I recently hired a young woman (Emma 19 years old) who is exploding in her abilities and grasp of cabinet making. Her father told me she was interested in woodwork and he asked if they could stop by my shop and see what tools are available and how they make woodworking easier. She came with a project and we ran it through the planer and sanded it down and we discussed the tools I have and what they do. I sent her home with a trunk full of scrap wood and said she could come anytime I’m there and use whatever tools she needs.
This turned into a job as she was finishing high school. We built a kitchen worth of cabinets together. I cut pieces and she labeled and did some assembly. The second kitchen we did, I asked her what I should do to properly cut the parts. The third kitchen we did she cut pieces and I did labeling and some assembly.
At this point (about a year in) Emma manages my cabinet division and does design, build, material ordering painting and preparation for shipping. (I go to the shop once a week and check on her and answer questions)
Today she spoke at Valparaiso University to a group of young women about being brave enough to go do something people would normally say you couldn’t do. I’m immensely grateful to have her as part of my team and am trying to find ways to help her move forward to accomplish the dreams and desires she has. Emma is very intelligent and building is intuitive to her but she also realizes traditional school isn’t something that works for her. I’m reaching out to you partly to just brag on her but also see if you have suggestions for her to further her career outside of school setting.
I’ve attached some pictures of the work she has done. She designed and built these cabinets. I installed them.
Terrific story. I have no suggestions for Emma, because based on what you’ve told me, her success in the market is pretty much guaranteed. She possesses a strong work ethic, a skill that’s in demand, and a hell of a mentor. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone on this page offers her a job. If she wants to study further, have her apply for a work ethic scholarship. She’s a shoe-in. Thank you sir, and tell your protege I said hello. She’s a rock star.