In an effort to inspire an interest in young women to consider a career in the construction industry, the Construction & Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF), the educational affiliate of Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston, partnered with local construction industry professionals to facilitate the 2018 Girls Construction Camp at CMEF’s Performance Verification Center on February 28, 2018.
Since 2016, CMEF’s Girls Construction Camp provides female students with career awareness and experience in the construction industry. After spending a full day of education and activities, the students then work with their parents and counselor to select a high school graduation endorsement plan and career pathway. Most of the volunteers who lead the various sessions are women in the construction industry. CMEF desires for students to strive to become the highly skilled, construction industry professional of the future, and having women to admire is very important to the success of the young students.
Thirty-one eighth grade female students spent the day participating in numerous hands-on skills that are performed daily by craft professionals including carpentry, dry wall installation and finishing, equipment operations, and pipefitting. The students represented five ISDs and nine intermediate high schools and were selected from within the school districts that CMEF sponsors.
“Our industry is committed to drawing more women into industrial construction,” said Carla Thompson, Workforce Development Manager at Turner Industries. “The CMEF Girls Construction Camp is a great opportunity for young ladies to actually work alongside women in construction and see what different career paths are available. The goal of the camp is to drive more women into career and technical education in high school and beyond. This year’s event was a success due to the tremendous efforts of the industry representatives and CMEF staff.”
According to a study conducted by American Express, women-owned businesses now account for thirty-nine percent of all United States firms, employ eight percent of the total private sector workforce, and contribute four percent to total business revenues.
On March 8, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar highlighted women at all levels of business and their important impact on the Texas economy with his Good for Texas Tour. The tour shared the results of a study the Comptroller’s office recently completed that examined the economic impact of women on the Texas economy. According to the study, women fill forty percent of all Texas jobs and nine percent of all workers in the United States construction industry.
“From the factory floor to the boardroom, from retail trade to manufacturing, women occupy nearly half the Texas workforce,” said Hegar. “And more women than ever are leading a diverse range of enterprises. In the past twenty years, the number of women-owned companies in Texas has risen by one hundred and forty-six percent. And today, nearly one million Texas women own their own businesses.”
As the day concluded, each camper left not only with company literature, a tool box, personal protection equipment, and the items they built themselves, but also with a more in-depth understanding of the exciting careers that await them within the Construction Industry.
“Thank you Steve Horton and the CMEF team for inviting us to participate in this incredible event,” said Tanya Hagar, Executive Director of Career & Technical Education at Pasadena ISD, “The students had a wonderful time with the hands-on activities and learned a great deal about the vast opportunities available to them in the construction industry. Three of them who had committed to other pathways at CTHS have asked to change to the construction pathway because of this camp. The CMEF staff and volunteers made an immediate, positive impact.”
By the close of the event, the students left with a new awareness and appreciation for the construction industry and the vast diversity of great career opportunities that await them in the future. CMEF hopes that the information the students gleaned from participating in the hands-on events coupled with the printed material they received, will assist them in making a decision on selecting a Graduation Endorsement Plan and Career Pathway that they may not have otherwise considered.
In the construction industry, it is well known that projects cannot be completed alone and this event could not have been possible without the support of the following companies and their respective volunteers: Brock, Brown & Root, CMEF, Dow, Jacobs, KBR, Marek Brothers, Performance, Turner Industries, and Southern Safety. Again, I express my appreciation and thanks to each volunteer and to the members of the Girls Construction Camp task force who spent many months planning and preparing for the event.
American Express. The State of Women-Owned Businesses. 2017. Retrieved from: http://about.americanexpress.com/news/docs/2017-State-of-Women-Owned-Businesses-Report.pdf
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Texas Comptroller Launches Good for Texas Tour: Women in the Workforce Edition. Retrieved from: https://comptroller.texas.gov/about/media-center/news/2018/180308-women.php