Girls in Oregon, New York, and California are heading to summer camps this year to learn construction-based skills. These girls will learn about plumbing, including how to shut off a water main break, carpentry, and even auto mechanics. Besides gaining skills in the industry, the girls gain confidence and possible interest in a construction-based career in the future. Houzz’s Erin Carlyle talked to each of the female founders of the all-girls summer camps to get more details.
Over the past decades, women have made inroads into many industries, but they comprise just 9.1 percent of the construction workforce. Most of those women are in office staff or management positions. Few actually ply the skilled trades — as carpenters, electricians, plumbers and more. Tradeswomen make up less than 4 percent of the industry, a statistic that hasn’t changed since the 1970s, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
“These are great jobs. They pay well,” says Katie Hughes, executive director of Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit Girls Build, and a carpenter herself. The average hourly rate for construction jobs ($29.65) was 10.1 percent higher than the average for nonfarm private-sector jobs ($26.92) in May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Hughes has thrived in a construction career and wants girls to know that they can too.
To introduce girls to a profession they might not otherwise consider, last year Cassidy founded the New York City nonprofit Tools & Tiaras and began offering workshops to teach girls about the trades. So far she and fellow tradeswomen have taught girls how to install a bathroom faucet, introducing them to soldering; how to wire a battery-powered light switch, introducing them to electrical work; and how to make a crown, introducing them to sheet metal work.Read More