Women in Construction Summer Camp

The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) originated as Women in Construction of Fort Worth, Texas. Sixteen women working in the construction industry founded it in 1953. Knowing that women represented only a small fraction of the construction industry, the founders organized NAWIC to create a support network for women working in a male-dominated field. Women in Construction of Fort Worth was so successful that it gained its national charter in 1955 and officially became the National Association of Women in Construction.

The construction industry is booming. Local industry leaders in Austin Texas want to empower girls to have the skills needed to fill jobs.

Camp NAWIC is not your typical summer camp. It is a hands-on day camp created by the Austin Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) in 2019.

Leaders say their goal is to give girls a safe and supportive place to explore career paths in construction and gain hands-on learning experience from women in the industry.

“You don’t really see a bunch of girls building things, like buildings in much of the city – just a bunch of men building them,” said 11-year-old Riley Rios, a first-year camper.

This camp is already building confidence for participants like Riley.

“It makes me feel good that I actually built it, and not just, like, bought it from the store or something,” Riley said, speaking of her planter box she made.

First-Year Campers

First-year campers learn how to use power tools to build the concrete planters, lamps and dog houses for donation to Austin Animal Center. At graduation, all first-year campers will receive a contractor’s tool bag filled with tools, including a screwdriver kit, framing hammer, drill set, ratcheting multi-bit driver, locking pliers and more.

“You don’t really see a bunch of girls building things, like buildings in much of the city – just a bunch of men building them,” said 11-year-old Riley Rios, a first-year camper.

This camp is already building confidence for participants like Riley.

“It makes me feel good that I actually built it, and not just, like, bought it from the store or something,” Riley said, speaking of her planter box she made.

First-year campers learn how to use power tools to build the concrete planters, lamps and dog houses for donation to Austin Animal Center. At graduation, all first-year campers will receive a contractor’s tool bag filled with tools, including a screwdriver kit, framing hammer, drill set, ratcheting multi-bit driver, locking pliers and more.

I can do things myself and I don’t need a man to help me with anything,” said Madelin. “I’m, like, very independent.”

Industry Needs

Not only do these girls want to learn the skills, but the industry is in need of these young women.

I joined the industry 16 years ago,” said Jolsna Thomas, the co-chair of Camp NAWIC and an employee with Rosendin Electric. “We’ve moved now to 11% of the industry being female. When we started, it was much lower. And in the trades in the field, only about 3% are female.

She knows personally how big of an industry this is in Austin.

I mean, you drive through Downtown Austin, how many tower cranes do you see? How many mobile cranes you see?” she said. “You see survey crews out marking up area. Yeah, the build is happening. The build is continuing to happen.”

This is a high-paying industry with job opportunities, and she wants girls to know they have an option.

If you don’t even know this is an industry that’s viable and that you’re actually pretty good at, you will never pick construction technology,” said Thomas.

While these campers build their skills and confidence, they hope other girls will break the mold as well.

“Now that I look at myself from the other day,” said Riley, “now I’m wondering why I was so afraid.

I think everybody should experience this, a lot of girls don’t get to learn how to use tools,” said Escamilla.

https://www.kvue.com/article/money/economy/boomtown-2040/austin-construction-camp-empowering-women/269-52bf76dc-053a-4012-ba3d-94a260b4d527

https://www.techedmagazine.com/category/news/construction/

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