Page 36 - CCD-Mag-Summer-Fall-2020
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 Four years ago, the HOYA Foundation created the Transportation & Construction GIRL Program. With women as only 9% of the construction workforce, HOYA saw a workforce need and an opportunity for young women. HOYA recognized the lack of role models showing girls that a financially sustainable career was achievable. So, HOYA created programs that allow young women to meet successful women and men in the industry and discover what their careers entailed. Transportation & Construction Girl's vision is to: EMBRACE the future of women in Transportation & Construction; ENCOURAGE young women to pursue sustainable non-traditional careers; and INSPIRE young women with expert insight from successful women.
  Meet Sarai; Sarai attended her first Transportation
& Construction GIRL event when she was 13. At that time, she had her heart set on being a cosmetologist. But after seeing the many careers in transportation and construction, her dreams have changed. She is pursuing a construction pathway in high school and just got her first OSHA Certification. She is excited about studying Construction Management.
  And, what about Sarai’s parents? They weren’t only grateful for her pathway to a financially sustainable career – but even more grateful to see the increase in their daughter’s self-confidence.
  This kind of growth is an everyday occurrence in the Transportation & Construction GIRL programs. Rachel decided to combine IT with engineering. Elena is studying Construction Management at CSU. Sela is headed to Colorado School of Mines in Geological Engineering. Jay is an employed welder. Laken is excited about marketing in construction. EmmaJo discovered that being an engineer is cool. And, Kate can’t stop talking about being a crane operator.
They changed their career paths because they learned from industry leaders that there is a place for them in construction and transportation. They learned that women can be successful in this industry. One participant said, “I have only been working minimum wage retail jobs. I thought that was all I would ever deserve. Now, I know that I can have a place in this industry.”
36 | Colorado Construction & Design
Why did the HOYA Foundation start a girls’ only program? Between middle school and high school, girls’ self-esteem goes down by 60%. They see construction and transportation as fields just for men. But the women that volunteer – to lead worksite tours, to record videos of their own journey, and to be sponsors – show girls what
is possible. One girl who attended the Transportation & Construction GIRL Lunch said, “I have never seen this many professional women in one place.”
And, by changing stereotypes and encouraging young women to enter this industry, the Transportation & Construction Girl program is creating more potential workforce. We are also changing futures. Mahilet said, “Most people think women can’t do this. It’s only men that I see doing this. But I think it is pretty cool that women can do it too.”
This summer, after talking with educators, Construction Girl put on PPE and created more than 60 videos. They interviewed women in the industry to get their insight and advice; hiked around worksites and climbed to the top of an airport hangar under construction. They talked with parents and graduates, and even created their first Transportation & Construction GIRL film. Schools have been grateful for the content they have provided. And, because Construction Girl pivoted their program to online, they have now expanded nationally. The Boise State Construction Management program wanted to learn more about how they could get involved. Construction Girl believes that what they did throughout 2020 will impact girls for a lifetime. And, it took sponsors with unwavering commitment to help them make that happen.
After learning that transportation and construction careers don’t only mean driving a bus and digging a ditch, the girls get really excited. Here’s what Swika had to say, “It was nothing that I had ever experienced before! I had so much fun and learned so much! Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU! I appreciate it so so much!”
If you would like to see the videos, learn more about Transportation & Construction Girl programs or get involved, go to their website: www.ConstructionGIRL.org or email: Keller@HOYAfoundation.org
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