From the Trails to the Workshop

Maria, a recent Construction 101 graduate, is an avid backpacker, having hiked the Long Trail and much of the Appalachian Trail. Her interest in outdoor building is no surprise and developed during with her first job, working trail crew with Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. Subsequent job experiences (in kitchens, offices, and schools) only firmed her resolve to investigate the building trades, particularly carpentry work.

The following tells the story, in her words, of her journey to ReSOURCE’s Construction 101 program.


Q: When did you join Construction 101? What was your life like at the time?

A: I took Construction 101 in the late fall of 2018. I had left my job working at a preschool in August and gone to hike the Long Trail, which I’d always wanted to do and never found the right time. I didn’t have a job at the time and knew I wanted to get into the trades in some way, but wasn’t sure what that would look like. I went to Vermont Works for Women to get some career advice, and they told me about the course at ReSOURCE, which was starting the next week! It all worked perfectly.


Q: What was your experience with Construction 101 like? Are there any moments that stand out to you?

A: I had a great experience with the course. It was a small group which was nice because we were really able to focus on the things that people wanted to be learning. The instructor did a good job of balancing classroom-type work with lots of hands-on experience. The tool training and the build projects were definitely the highlights. I was able to use just about everything in the shop and gain a lot of confidence with all the tools, which was the most beneficial thing for me.


Having access to the joinery and being able to work on side projects was a huge bonus. I made tables, a bench, picture frames and other things. Having the resources to practice all the skills I was learning and to have a lot of repetition with the power tools was so critical.


Q: What has life been like since you left ReSOURCE? Is there any lesson/skill you learned that you’re still using today?

A: Right now I am working with Skada Builders, which is a local design/build company. I have been with them since the spring. We work on residential renovations, additions, and new builds. It has been an incredible opportunity to work on fun and challenging projects with a great crew of people. I bring skills that I learned in Construction 101 to the jobsite every day. Things as simple as the way I read my measuring tape and mark out boards. Or how I operate the saws safely. I have no doubt that having that foundation has been a huge help in the work I am doing now. The biggest element is that I gained the confidence needed to get my foot in the door.


Q: What would you say to someone considering enrolling in Construction 101?

A: The course is a great opportunity to learn new skills and get a background in the trades in general. We not only did carpentry, but worked on an electrical project and learned a bit about plumbing and mechanical. Being able to learn in the shop is great because you don’t have the pressure and time constraints of the job site. I still continue to learn everyday on the job, but it would have been a lot harder without the background that Construction 101 gave me.

Share the Post:

Related Posts

Schedule a Donation Pick-up

Thank you for thinking of ReSOURCE for donations of your furniture and large appliances! We are proud to offer pick-up services in Chittenden County and Central Vermont. 





What is Career Start?

Career Start is a program designed for high school students to gain hands-on experience and technical skills in various departments at ReSOURCE’s Burlington or Barre locations.

High school students enrolled in school are eligible to participate in the Career Start program.

The program provides hands-on experience in ReSOURCE departments, technical skills training, and monthly personal and professional development classes.

There is a fee of $1500, but tuition is waived for qualifying Vermonters.

Departments include Customer Service & Retail, Office Administration, Computers and Electronics, Overlook Cafe, and Large Appliances, among others.

Yes, students earn a monthly stipend

Training covers Health and Wellness, Goal Setting and Achievement, Leadership Development, Career Planning, and Financial Literacy.

Interested individuals should contact ReSOURCE’s Training and Development Manager, Susan Uthmann, for enrollment details.


Please contact:

Susan Uthmann
Training and Development Manager
[email protected]

Partner Agency List

Our partners help us to provide $125,000 worth of goods to over 2,000 individuals/families in Chittenden, Lamoille, and Washington Counties, and the greater Vermont area.

  • Addison Community Action/CVOEO
  • Age Well
  • Agency of Human Services- Field Services Burlington District
  • Burlington Community Justice Center
  • Burlington Housing Authority
  • Chittendent Community Action/CVOEO
  • Clarina Howard Nichols Center
  • Committee On Temporary Shelter
  • Essex Community Justice Center
  • Howard Center Community Support Program
  • Howard Center Developmental Services
  • Howard Center School Service Program
  • Lamoille Family Center
  • Milton Family Community Center
  • Pathways Vermont- Housing First Program
  • Pathways Vermont -services for veterans and families rapid rehousing program
  • Safe Harbor Clinic
  • Spectrum Youth and Family Services
  • Steps to End Domestic Violence
  • The Janet S. Munt Family Room
  • U.S. Committee for refugees and Immigrants
  • U.S. Committee for refugees and Immigrants
  • Vermont Cares
  • Vermont Catholic Charities
  • Vermont Foundation of Recovery


Become a Partner Agency

For interest in joining our program please email [email protected] to learn more about the next application cycle or any availability in become a new partner agency.

We make award decisions each December for the next calendar year and notify partners so our clients can request vouchers.

Skip to content