Women breaking into construction trades

MARQUETTE– It was a female Friday at the Jacobetti Complex. The classrooms were filled with middle school and high school students being exposed to the construction industry.

Construction Day was originally supposed to host 25 students but ended up training over 100 ladies. Students from twelve different schools participated in the hands on career Construction Day. Northern Michigan University student volunteers lead instructions in the welding shop, CAD lab, and the wood shop.

“Usually in construction you see boys working but I thought it would be a great event, because now it’s involved with all girls,” student Chloe Hull said. “Girls don’t have many chances in the building community so I thought it’d be fun to explore what the other boys do. We’re building a bird house and it’s going to be really fun.”

Construction Day is grant funded making it free for all participants. Aside from building the bird house students preformed 3D design, received training on electricity, and made metal cut outs in the welding shop.

“We’re getting metal pieces from the plasma table, which basically cuts the metal pieces proficiently, and then we’re scrapping them off, and cleaning them,” student Jenna Watson said. “Then we are attaching them to the birdhouses we already made. I think it’s really fun, but the scary part is when the sparks start flying. I think it’s amazing see this many girls interested in engineering because usually you don’t see a lot of girls in that profession.”

“So they’re getting a little bit of an idea on a lot of different areas of construction, and the goal is really for girls to understand that careers in construction, in the trades, in any facet is really really an option,” Assistant professor Heidi Blanck said. “A very viable option for females.”

This is the first ever Women in Construction Day. The event even had a waiting list and filled up two weeks prior to the cutoff date.

Blanck said students were very enthusiastic and hopes to host an event in the future to give other female students the same experience.