People don’t talk about the trades enough, especially for women. That’s one of the reasons I’m a member of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Philadelphia Chapter. There are terrific career opportunities for females who aren’t college bound, and construction offers many of them. These types of opportunities were not discussed with me when I was deciding on my future career and it’s nice to see the option becoming part of the conversation for young girls.
That’s the point behind a free, six-day summer camp for Philadelphia area girls that NAWIC hosts every year. And for the first time, I was one of the chaperones, serving as a role model for a group of 12 to 14-year-olds who live in low-income areas. It was a very fulfilling experience—seeing the girls’ curiosity about the industry, their excitement about being on a jobsite, and their eagerness to work with tools, and build something themselves.
The young ladies are all involved in Girls Inc., a non-profit that equips girls to lead fulfilling and productive lives, break the cycle of poverty and become role models in their community.
The day included a tour of the job site at 2100 Hamilton, a 10-story condominium building going up on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The residences are designed by renowned architects Cecil Baker + Partners and are being built by Bock Development Group, a residential real estate development company and a sister company of Ernest Bock & Sons, Inc. (EBS). After the tour, we went back to the offices and carpentry shop of EBS for conversation and hands-on work.
I think what surprised the girls most are the outstanding prospects for women in construction. The associate project manager at 2100 Hamilton is a woman, along with the lead project estimator and the plumber who had been on the jobsite the week before was a female. Lots of women are into DIY, but then you see that creating or building something with your hands is typically in a male-dominated industry. Most young girls don’t realize that a career in construction can be very fun and financially rewarding for people who don’t want to sit behind a desk.
For those that do, the glass ceiling is being broken. For example, EBS has a large female staff including three senior officers. The girls really liked seeing that women were climbing the ladder, bridging the gender gap and succeeding in nontraditional roles.
I’m very grateful that MRG supports my involvement in NAWIC, and the careers of women in construction. Having Zina Clayman as one of MRG’s partners and a wonderful role model for women and male professionals alike, is a real testament to the company’s commitment to women in our profession.