CNM is presenting the second annual Women in Trades conference Friday (March 31), and it promises to be even bigger and better than the first.

“We wanted to ramp up this year’s conference for attendees and our community partners as much as possible,” said Amy Ballard, CNM’s dean for the School of Skilled Trades & Arts. 

Sarah Thomas will be this year’s keynote speaker, someone well-known for her achievements as a football official. She was the first woman to officiate a major college football game and the first to officiate a postseason college bowl game. She then went on to become the first full-time female official in NFL history – she’s also the first woman to officiate an NFL playoff game and the first woman to officiate in the Super Bowl.

“Landing Sara Thomas is something we’re really excited about because she’s someone who knows all about non-traditional careers for women,” Ballard said. “Having her at CNM will make the conference even more special.”

In addition to hearing from Thomas, attendees will have the opportunity to talk to CNM advisors from the School of Skilled Trades & Arts, representatives from New Mexico Associated Builders and Contractors, and other local union representatives about the various pathways they can take to enter the trades.

Most importantly, Ballard says the Women in Trades Conference will be a great way for women to learn about the many different opportunities available to them through CNM’s trades programs and find out how they can secure one of the many high-paying and high-demand jobs available for tradespeople across New Mexico.

“New Mexico is starving for tradespeople and we need to let all people know that the trades are first-choice jobs with significant growth opportunities,” Ballard saids. “Additionally, the Women in Trades Conference gives us the unique opportunity to share that there is a place for everyone in the trades – no matter your gender.”

This Women in Trades Conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on CNM’s Main Campus in Smith Brasher Hall. This is a free event but attendees need to register.