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PORTLAND -- With tool belts and hardhats at the ready on Thursday, 620 girls from middle schools across the state and from Idaho got a taste of what its like to be a women in the trades.

For the girls, it was a whole new world of possibilities which some never even thought about before.

The three-day event is the largest nontraditional career fair of it's kind. The Women in the Trades Career Fair is put on by the Oregon Tradeswomen Inc.

This is a hands on, skill learning fair. Students weld, they drill, they climb fire ladders, they wire an electrical box and more.

This is the other four year degree, said Connie Ashbrook, Executive Director of Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. This is a professional apprenticeship where you come out of your four- of five-year apprenticeship with credentials that you can take anywhere in the country, anywhere in the world, that shows you are trained as a blue collar professional.

On Friday, it will be the high school girls' turn to get some hands-on training.

Saturday's event will be open to the public.

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