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Thursday
Apr182019

Disney Cruise Line debuts Captain Minnie Mouse, aims to inspire girls

Disney Cruise Line(NEW YORK) -- Aye, aye, Captain Minnie Mouse!

Disney Cruise Line announced Thursday the debut of Captain Minnie Mouse. The cruise line aims to inspire the next generation of female leaders in the maritime industry.

In addition to the first ever pants-wearing Captain Minnie, DCL's new youth programs and the funding of scholarships are designed to empower girls and young women to pursue careers in the cruise industry.

"Captain Minnie Mouse, in her crisp new uniform with smart white trousers or skirt and a bold red jacket emblazoned with captain’s insignia, will make the rounds on all Disney ships starting in April," Disney Cruise Line said.

In 2019, Disney Cruise Line will sponsor four scholarships at the LJM Maritime Academy in the Bahamas for female cadets who aspire to be ship captains and shipboard leaders. The scholarships, one for each of the ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, will include tuition to the three-year program. The scholarships will include two years of study at the academy and one year of service aboard a Disney ship.

Later this year, Captain Minnie will appear in an all-new youth activity where young captain hopefuls practice STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills in a fun maritime-themed activity in Disney’s Oceaneer Lab aboard all Disney ships.

She'll also visit kids in local communities. Captain Minnie Mouse will visit children in some of Disney Cruise Line’s home ports and ports of call. As part of these local community visits, Captain Minnie Mouse will be accompanied by a female Disney Cruise Line officer or crew member to showcase their roles in the maritime industry and raise awareness about career choices for women aboard a cruise ship.

And of course, there's merchandise.

Items in the nautical-themed collection of apparel and gifts tout the tagline, “You Can Call Me Captain.” A brand-new Captain Minnie Mouse plush will be introduced this summer. On board in DCL's Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, girls will soon be able to choose a Captain Minnie makeover. A new PANDORA Jewelry charm will also be available for purchase exclusively on board.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Apr182019

Six tips for millennial home buyers from realtors across the country

Feverpitched/iStock(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to home buying, millennials rule the game.

Millennials as a whole accounted for 37 percent of all buyers last year, making them the most active generation of buyers for the sixth consecutive year, according to the National Association of Realtors' 2019 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study.

Many millennials are first-time home buyers, learning to navigate the world of loans, mortgages and interest rates. Millennials also bring to the real estate table considerations that generations before them have not faced in such depth, like student debt.

With their specific needs, millennials need specific advice. ABC News' Good Morning America asked realtors across the country for their top tips for millennial buyers.

Here is their advice in their own words:

Tip #1: Get your finances in order before you shop

I often tell clients that the easiest part is finding the property, the biggest (and in my opinion the first) piece of the puzzle is one’s finances and determining which type of financing they should take advantage of so that they are in the best position to go out and "shop." This goes for a buyer of any age, but especially a younger buyer who might not have a significant financial history and therefore need to explore unique lending opportunities.

Talk to your realtor and ask them for a lender (or two) they’d recommend you chat with. Another thing to keep in mind, is that going in to the bank that you use is not often the best option. Larger banks have more restrictive guidelines that might not allow a buyer to find the best financing option as well as be competitive in the market.

It’s never too early to talk to a lender especially if you think you have some financial messiness you need to fix. They can help you get a game plan together.

- Danai Mattison Sky, sales manager, Long and Foster Realty, Washington D.C.


Tip #2: Don't settle

The first home you look at may be "The One", or it may be the 10th home. If you don't have a good feeling before buying a house, that feeling will still be there after you buy the house, so trust your instincts and don't settle!

- Ashley Christie, realtor and broker associate, GRI, Tampa, Florida

Tip #3: Think long-term

A hip condo downtown may seem like a great place to establish your first permanent residence, but consider how that investment looks in five years. Where will your career take you? What appreciation does the area have?

If a single-family home is too daunting, consider an attached duplex or town home with a smaller lot size. You will have a broader pool of buyers in the future and the equity gain often exceeds that of a high-rise building.

- Heather Heuer, Denver Metro Association of REALTORS Chair-Elect, Denver, Colorado

Tip #4: Don't assume that you cannot buy

The sooner you buy a home the closer you are to financial freedom. Once you buy property you stop paying someone else’s mortgage and you start paying your own.

However, make sure that you first get pre-approved and talk to a good local lender to understand how much you can buy and what the costs will be to buy. Talking to a lender may show you that you need to improve you’re credit a bit or pay off a few more student loans but the sooner you know the sooner you can be ready to get into a home.

- Bill Head, MetroTex Association of REALTORS, Dallas, Texas

Tip #5: Determine your 'must haves'

Buyers in their early 30s tend to be more established in life. I encourage these buyers to give me a list of what is a must have vs a want in their future home. We reference this list often throughout the buying process and will even sometimes make changes to the initial list after we have seen a house or two.

This list is imperative especially if a husband and wife have different wants or needs. Lastly, this also gives them peace of mind that they really have found the "perfect" house when making an offer because the house will typically check off all the boxes on their wish list.

- Marie A. Gregorio, realtor, Century 21, Tampa, Florida


Tip #6: Ask a lot of questions

Ask a lot of questions of your realtor. There really should be no question to big or small to ask, whether its strategizing about a putting together a competitive offer or identifying an inspector or lender or anything else. Consulting them is a good complement to your own research.

- Thomas P. Daley, realtor and broker, Washington, D.C.


Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Apr182019

Twitter not equipped to deal with violent threats: Expert

RomanOkopny/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Granted, he's a cybersecurity expert, but it only took Chad Loder a couple of hours to funnel hundreds of death threats to freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar into a Twitter "Moment".

"Please help report this collection of threats to Ilhan Omar's safety. It is a felony under 18 U.S.C. § 871-875 to threaten US government officials. Any tweets which illegally call for violence, murder, or lynching of Ilhan Omar should be reported," Loder wrote on the curation of menacing posts.

He did this to prove a point: that Twitter's ill-equipped to deal with the hate speech and threatened violence on its platform, Loder told ABC News on Wednesday.

Last month, Omar's remarks to the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) immediately following the mosque attacks in New Zealand were taken out of context by conservative outlets to seem as if she was dismissive of the Sept. 11 attacks. In the speech, she had said “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something, and all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties."

The coverage has resulted in an uptick in threats of violence aimed at Omar online.

"I just decided I wanted to highlight everything that's been going on and put it all into one place for people to see because I don't think people realize quite how bad it gets," Loder, CEO and founder of cybersecurity firm Habitu8, said.

Because algorithms are trained to introduce content to users based on what they engage with, those likely to be offended by such threats might not see them.

Over the weekend, Loder used search terms like "to the head" coupled with "Ilhan" or "string up" or "string her up" or "highest tree" or "Muslim pic and Ilhan" to find death threats to the freshman representative from Minnesota, who is Somali-American and Muslim, and collect them in one "Moment" so that users could see them, and for Twitter to take action.

"Watching the discourse around how Twitter will admit, 'Hey we need to do more, we realize what a problem harassment is,' it gets really frustrating because when they say it's a hard problem they mostly mean expensive, not hard," Loder said.

"A lot of this stuff we need to do to police hate speech and death threats and online radicalization, is fairly simple to do if you have the will to spend the money on it. It's not really about AI (artificial intelligence) and it' s not really about machine learning. It's really about making decision on policies," Loder said. "For example, if someone threatens to lynch a black Muslim woman politician then why would you ban them and then let them back on the platform 24 hours later? Those sorts of policies don't seem to make sense."

On Tuesday, Twitter released an update to its online safety policies, stating the company now has a system to flag hate speech or offensive comments before it's reported by victims which it did not have as recently as this time last year. The company also said 100,000 accounts were suspended for creating new accounts after a suspension in the first three months of this year -- a 45 percent increase from the same time last year.

CEO and founder Jack Dorsey also gave a TED Talk in which he addressed the abuse on the platform

A Twitter spokesperson wrote ABC News in an emailed statement: "Death threats, incitement to violence, and hateful conduct are absolutely unacceptable on Twitter. Accounts spreading this type of material will be removed and coupled with our proactive engagement, we continue to encourage people to report this content to us. This behavior undermines freedom of expression and the values our service is based on."

Still, many of the threats Loder pointed out stayed up all weekend.

"Due to the nature of concrete threats that we're seeing, some of this content — which would have otherwise been immediately removed — was temporarily maintained to enable potential law enforcement coordination. Capitol Hill police are working on this issue," a source familiar with the situation told ABC News.

Rep. Omar retweeted one of Loder's tweets about the threats to her. Her office did not respond to multiple requests for comment from ABC News.

 Loder said he understands that the humans who police the content for Twitter and other platforms are "overwhelmed" from watching child pornography, actual violence and online radicalization.

But, he added, "the trust and safety work human beings have to do is very, very expensive. When Twitter says, 'we need more AI machine learning' they're saying, 'we want to invest as little as possible in these expensive human beings.' In the meantime there's a huge gap between what the machines can do and what humans can do and in that gap is where the abuse happens. It's very expensive to invest in that."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Apr182019

Cummings accuses Republicans of obstructing drug prices investigation

busracavus/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House Oversight Committee, on Wednesday accused his Republican colleagues of obstructing the committee’s sweeping investigation into rising drug prices, after they sent letters sent to 12 drug companies urging them not to participate in the probe.

Republican Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows sent letters to a dozen top drug company CEOs earlier this month warning them not to participate in Cummings' investigation, arguing the probe is strictly partisan and suggesting Cummings is likely to leak information drug companies turn over to the committee.

“You personally may have no interest in bringing down drug prices for your constituents, you honestly may believe it is more important to protect drug company profits and stock prices than the budgets of American families, and you may even disagree with President Trump that drug companies are ‘getting away with murder’, but your efforts to interfere with this investigation represent a new low for a Member of this Committee,” Cummings wrote in a letter to Ranking Member Jordan.

“It is one thing to have an honest disagreement about the Committee’s policy or approach—which would command respect—but it is quite another to actively obstruct an investigation in the service of placing corporate interests over those of the American people,” Cummings wrote.

In their letter to the companies, Meadows and Jordan argue that Cummings released “sensitive information” as it relates to the closed-door interview of Tricia Newbold, the White House whistleblower who brought concerns over the security clearance process to the committee, attempting to make the companies fearful Cummings will do the same to them.

“To the contrary, the information released during the security clearance investigation was carefully vetted to remove sensitive information, and it accurately set forth the concerns of a career whistleblower who exhausted all other avenues to address these concerns internally,” Cummings wrote.

Jordan tweeted Wednesday that Cummings was "trying to divert attention from the classic Washington gaffe of telling the truth. He bragged about affecting “stock prices with regard to drugs.”

The issue is a top priority for Cummings. In January, he sent letters to the 12 drug companies asking for information and communications regarding “price increases, investments in research and development, and corporate strategies to preserve market share and pricing power.”

It's an effort that also has traction with President Donald Trump and thereby has the pharmaceutical industry on edge.

The administration has taken steps to crack down on this very issue.

Trump said during a 2017 Cabinet meeting that drug companies are “getting away with murder” and pledged to lower drug prices.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr172019

31,000 striking Stop & Shop workers poised to get boost from Joe Biden

Scott Eisen/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- As a strike by 31,000 unionized Stop & Shop supermarket workers throughout the Northeast stretched into its seventh day Wednesday, Joe Biden was ready to speak up.

The former vice president is scheduled to join the striking workers at a rally at one of their picket lines in Boston on Thursday, according to representatives of the United Food & Commercial Workers International.

Workers at about 240 Stop & Shop stores -- most of which are in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island -- walked off their jobs April 11 after the company proposed changes to wages and pension and health care plans.

"Negotiations are continuing. Our goal remains the same -- reaching a fair new agreement and returning our focus to doing what we do best -- taking care of our customers," Stefanie Shuman, a spokeswoman for Stop & Shop, said in a statement to ABC News on Wednesday.

The workers' labor contact expired on Feb. 23.

"Stop & Shop's latest proposal will drastically increase out-of-pocket health care costs, kick approximately 1,000 employees' spouses off of their health care plan, and make it more challenging for 31,000 people to provide for themselves and their families," the UFCW said in a statement this week. "If the company's most recent offer becomes a reality, every working family, neighborhood, consumer, and community will be hurt."

The union says the company's latest offer would take away premium pay for union employees who work on national holidays and Sundays, eliminate pay raises and reduce the company's contributions to pensions and health care costs.

The company, however, says under its proposal, workers' wages would rise and remain above the industry average. Stop & Shop, owned by Dutch supermarket giant Ahold Delhaize, would cover at least 92 percent of health care premiums for family coverage and 88 percent for individual coverage, according to the proposal.

The company says workers would see the health care premiums they pay rise $2 to $4 a week.

Since the strike started, Stop & Shop management has struggled to keep shelves stocked and stores open as delivery truck drivers, who are members of the Teamsters union, refused to cross picket lines.

On Tuesday, Stop & Shop president Mark McGowan issued an apology to customers for the "inconvenience" the strike caused.

"First, we want you to know, Stop & Shop recognizes the valuable role our associates play in creating a great experience for you," McGowan said in a statement. "They are a part of your lives, a part of our community, and key to our success. That's why it is so important to us to provide a fair contract to our employees who are members of the UFCW unions currently on strike."

 Union representatives said the company, founded in Massachusetts in 1914, has temporarily closed dozens of stores as it struggled to staff them with managers and nonunion workers.

"Most stores remain open for business seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with some reduced services," McGowan said. "However, bakery, customer service, deli and seafood counters will not be operational, and we currently have a limited meat selection. Our gas stations are also closed at this time."

 Some striking workers said they are eager to get back to work and hope a contract agreement can be reached soon.

"To be on the sidewalk, getting yelled at by strangers instead of being in there slinging cold cuts is pretty demoralizing. This needs to end, yesterday," Ian Giribaldi, an eight-year Stop & Shop employee, told ABC Boston station WCVB-TV.

Kenneth Farnham, who has worked for the supermarket chain in Boston for 15 years, told WCVB-TV, "I want to get back to work."

"All I asked is a fair shake for myself and all Stop & Shop employees," Farnham said. "We deserve it."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr172019

Feds launch investigation into American Airlines accident at JFK airport

XavierMarchant/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The National Transportation Safety Board is launching an investigation into an accident that occurred last week when an American Airlines jet struck a runway distance marker upon take off from John F. Kennedy International Airport, the agency announced Wednesday.

On April 10 at 8:40 p.m., the Airbus A321 scheduled to fly to Los Angeles with 110 people on board took off from the New York airport and struck the object with its left wingtip, according to the airline and investigators.

The flight returned to the airport and landed safely 29 minutes later, with no injuries to passengers or crew, American Airlines said in a statement.

NTSB investigations typically last 6-12 months and culminate with the independent agency determining a probable cause of the accident.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr172019

Carl's Jr. testing CBD-infused Rocky Mountain High Cheese Burger Delight at Denver location

typhoonski/iStock(DENVER) -- Cannabis enthusiasts in Colorado will now have a savory food item to balance out a well-rounded diet of CBD-infused sweets.

Carl's Jr. has announced that it's testing a cannabidiol-infused burger, dubbed the Rocky Mountain High Cheese Burger Delight, at one of its Denver locations on Saturday, which happens to be April 20, the unofficial holiday for marijuana fanatics.

The burger will be sold exclusively at the Carl's Jr. on 4050 Colorado Blvd and, keeping with the theme, will retail for $4.20, according to a press release from the fast food company.

The secret to the burger's potentially calming qualities will be in its "Santa Fe Sauce," which is infused with 5 milligrams of CBD, according to The Denver Post reported. The oil used in the sauce will be derived from hemp, not THC, which is the principal psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gets users high.

Each customer will be limited to purchasing two burgers, and it will only be available to customers 18 and older, The Post reported.

“The new Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight ties back to our core strategy of being the first to bring bold and unexpected flavors that are at the forefront of hot restaurant trends to a quick service menu,” said Patty Trevino, Senior Vice President, Brand Marketing at Carl’s Jr. in a statement. “From our early introduction into plant-based options to bringing the rare indulgence of truffles to our menu with the new Bacon Truffle Angus Burger, our customers have come to expect innovative and unique menu offerings, and we’re thrilled to be the first quick service restaurant to be testing CBD infused options.”

The FDA still bans the use of CBD in food and beverages, but last year then-Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper passed a law saying that hemp should be treated the same as any food ingredient, and in December, President Donald trump signed a federal farm bill that reclassified hemp as an agricultural product rather than a controlled substance, The Denver Post reported. CBD is widely used to treat pain and anxiety.

Although the sale of the burger will be limited to Saturday for now, Carl's Jr. said in a statement that "there is potential to expand as regulations allow," according to The Post.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr172019

Uber launches feature that lets female drivers in Saudi Arabia avoid taking male passengers

nycshooter/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Uber has launched a new initiative that will allow female drivers in Saudi Arabia to avoid picking up male passengers.

The "Women Preferred View" feature in the app gives women drivers the choice to select a preference of women-only riders, according to a statement by Uber. Research conducted by global market research and a consulting firm Ipsos found that 74 percent of prospective female drivers in the country would only be interested in driving female riders, according to Uber.

The rideshare company tested a pilot version of the feature last year and has now incorporated it fully to female drivers in Saudi Arabia. It is unclear if the company plans to offer similar options for women drivers in other countries.

The new feature is part of the "Masaruky" or "your path" initiative, which was created in 2018 in part to increase women's participation in the workforce after Saudi Arabian law changed in September 2017 to allow women to drive, Uber said in a statement.

After months of research, Uber found that 93 percent of Saudi women saw the lift to the driving ban as positive and another 78 percent planned to obtain a driver's license, according to the statement.

Uber has seen an "incredible response" in Saudi Arabia after the launch of Masaruky, Abdellatif Waked, General Manager of Uber Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

"We launched this feature in response to the feedback we received from women drivers in Saudi Arabia and we are committed to always being thoughtful of how we can always improve their experience driving on the app," Waked said. "This is just the start, and we will continue working with experts to leverage our external research as we move forward to ensure that this is in the best interest of women driver-partners in the Kingdom."

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Wednesday
Apr172019

Upping pressure on Cuba, Trump admin to allow lawsuits against companies using confiscated property

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration is moving to allow lawsuits in U.S. courts against any company or entity doing business in Cuba using property seized in the 1959 revolution, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday.

The move is meant to choke off foreign investment in Cuba as the administration seeks to tighten economic pressure on the government there in a repeal of President Barack Obama's opening to Cuba and an effort to punish Cuba for its support of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

"Sadly, Cuba's most prominent export these days is not cigars or rum, it's oppression. Detente with the regime has failed. Cozying up to Cuban dictators will always be a black mark on this great nation's long record of defending human rights," Pompeo said in a clear swipe at the Obama administration.

Lawsuits can begin starting May 2. The lawsuits were originally authorized under a 1996 law known as Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, but Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama had extended six-month waivers for 23 years because the lawsuits were seen as disruptive, likely ineffective, and particularly damaging to U.S. allies in Europe.

But Pompeo signaled this move was coming by shortening those waivers in recent months and then in March allowing lawsuits against businesses and entities with ties to Cuba's security and intelligence services. Now, lawsuits against any business or entity will be allowed, with no exemptions -- including for American companies. The European Union issued a statement last week to urge the administration not to move forward with the move, threatening lawsuits against the U.S. at the World Trade Organization and to allow counter suits in European courts if it did.

"European companies that are operating in Cuba will have nothing to worry about if they are not operating on property that was stolen from Americans post-revolution," Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Kimberly Breier told reporters.

The U.S. has certified 6,000 claims by Americans for confiscated property seized by the Castro regime that were worth $2 billion in total at the time they were confiscated, according to the Department of Justice's Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. Those properties could be worth $8 billion with interest now, although a 1996 estimate found that there could be up to 200,000 more claims that have not been certified, potentially worth tens of billions of dollars.

"Implementing Title III in full means a chance at justice for Cuban Americans who have long sought relief for Fidel Castro and his lackeys seizing property without compensation," Pompeo said, referring to the section of the 1996 law that allowed for lawsuits.

But the lawsuits could also backfire, according to some critics, because it means those European or even American companies would have to now pay compensation, instead of the Cuban government.

"This doesn’t punish the Cuban government; it lets them off the hook," said James Williams, president of Engage Cuba, a coalition of private companies and organizations that lobbies for the end of the U.S. embargo of Cuba. "This decision punishes the Cuban people and American companies -- companies who were given permission by the U.S. government to do business and are now having the rug pulled from underneath them."

National Security Adviser John Bolton is expected to announce further penalties against Cuba during an address to the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association in Miami to mark the 58th anniversary of the failed effort to topple Fidel Castro's government. Those could include new sanctions against senior Cuban officials or restrictions on U.S. trade with or remittances to Cuba, with Breier saying, "You're going to see quite a bit more from us, and this is the beginning of a new process on this."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr172019

A woman's journey from stay-at-home mom to construction worker: 'It isn't just guys' work'

Carlyn McClelland(MIDDLEBURY, Ind.) -- Carlyn McClelland is a licensed contractor working at Clayton Homes in Middlebury, Indiana, who helps put the finishing touches on customers' dream homes. But for the former probation officer with a degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University, it's a far cry from the reality she once knew.

"I just wanted to learn how to fix my house," McClelland told ABC News, describing a renovation project in her 100-year-old home that sat untouched for far too long.

"I was starting to get frustrated with the level of things that needed to get done around the house. And I didn't know how to do them, and my husband didn't have time to do them because he was working hard to provide for our family," she added. "And it hit me like an epiphany: 'You can do this stuff. This isn't just guys' work.'"

Another part of her revelation? She had recently lost 150 pounds.

"Because I had lost all of this weight, I had the energy and I had the ability to do it. I just needed the know-how," she said.

So in 2015, McClelland -- ready to go back to work but looking for something more hands-on than her prior job -- started looking into programs that would give her the carpentry skills and training she needed to fix up her own home and "fix a few other homes along the way." Inspired to teach her two young boys how to take care of their own future homes, she found the Construction Trades Green Technology program at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac.

"I was about two weeks into my program when I realized that I should have done construction my whole entire life," she said.

But she had already accumulated debt from graduate school and she knew she wasn't going to go down that road again.

"Why did I have to go to school and take all of this debt for a job that I never really wanted to begin with?" she said. "I could've gone to school for two years, got an associate's degree, or even just gone into ... union carpentry, never taken out any debt and made a ridiculous amount of money in a field that's in demand. … Why wouldn't people want to do this? That just makes sense to me."

McClelland needed a boost to complete her associate's degree. It was at that point that celebrity TV host Mike Rowe entered into her life.

While Rowe was in the trenches working as an apprentice in various professions on his hit show Dirty Jobs, he says he saw a real disconnect in society.

Since 2008, he has been working to bring awareness of the value of work and has advocated for skilled trades through the mikeroweWORKS Foundation. His mission: "To help close the skills gap by challenging the stigmas and stereotypes that discourage people from pursuing the millions of available jobs. We're redefining the definition of a good education and a good job, because we don't think a four-year degree is the best path for most people."

To do so, Rowe has stepped up through his foundation by granting or helping to facilitate the granting of over $5 million in technical or vocational education to help more than 1,000 students, including through the Work Ethic Scholarship, the primary program of the foundation. This year, mikeroweWORKS plans to award at least $500,000 in scholarships to some of the 550 applicants.

"I said to my husband, 'I'm gonna apply for one of those scholarships and I'm gonna win it,'" McClelland said. "And everything that I did from that point forward was like a résumé builder, something I can check off and send to Mike Rowe when I apply for his scholarship the next spring."

McClelland receive those scholarship funds and that money helped her finish her two-year program to graduate with her associate of applied science in construction trades green technology in 2018.

"It was huge and it was humbling," McClelland said. "I knew in my mind that whatever I was gonna do was gonna be to make him proud."

Back at her home, McClelland is proud of herself for not only working in a field she loves but far exceeding her original goal. That's because McClelland and her husband, Paul, have purchased and are renovating their dream home together. She even has her own tool room. It's safe to say no project is going untouched now.

"My favorite part has been when it comes to birthdays, Christmas and anniversaries, I get to buy tools [for my wife]," he told ABC News. "It's fantastic!"

And as for what's next for McClelland, she's ready to pay it forward.

"I think when women see the construction field they think of all the heavy lifting involved in construction and I don't think women realize the number of opportunities that are available," she said. "And my goal now, going forward, is to try to expose as many people to this opportunity as possible."

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