The Women in Construction Forum (“WCF”), an Upstate, S.C.-based group of female industry professionals in residential, commercial, and industrial construction, recently held a two-part interactive learning session at Anderson Districts I and II’s Career and Technology Center (“ACTC”) to encourage and educate female students coming into the trade industry.
Speaking to a group of approximately 20 female students enrolled in construction, engineering, aerospace and marketing programs at ACTC, each of the Forum’s representatives shared their professional construction career journey, answered questions from the group, and staged an interactive learning session on “How to read a Ruler.”
The Forum’s speakers, as well as the attendees, echoed the significance of the sessions:
“The WCF was one of the most powerful, impactful, and interactive presentations our female students have had the opportunity to be a part of,” commented Kelli Lancaster, who serves as the Work Based Learning Coordinator for ACTC.
WCF member Racquel Collier shared, “I am so honored to have the chance to offer advice that I wish was given to me when I was in their shoes; that’s how we ensure our culture moves in the right direction!”
“Planting seeds in a young girl’s life is always fruitful,” said Christi Powell, WBE/MBE Market Manager & Commercial Sales, 84 Lumber.
Rachel Veltri, who serves on the Women Construction Forum’s leadership team, and is the Business Development Manager for Morgan-Keefe Builders, added, “If young women see professionals giving their time to encourage and mentor others, then hopefully, many of them will grow up to be leaders who give back to their communities.”
Clemson University’s Tommi Jones, Senior Project Manager for Capital Projects offered, “Considering that women account for a small percentage of women in construction, it was exciting to meet a group of enthusiastic young women who are exploring the idea of entering the field.”
“I enjoyed speaking with the young ladies at ACTC to help them explore fields in construction. A common problem the industry faces is a lack of knowledge about all the different job opportunities within the field. I hope our outreach helps break this misconception and attract new talent into the industry,” explained Aubrey Davis, Assistant Project Manager, Langston Construction.
“We are changing the landscape of our industry. It was exciting to be able to answer their questions about all the possible careers, internships, and how to get started,” said Natasha Sexton, President, Sexton Design and Development.
“Being surrounded by the ACTC young women inspires me to work harder to make sure that they have it easier. When these young women come into the workforce, they will not have it easy in male-dominated fields, but with every year that goes by, women continue to prove that we belong in those fields. As much as WCF women are considered anomalies in their organizations, so will these students, but we are all stronger together and the construction industry is better for it,” offered Tori Wallace-Babcock, Project Manager, Mashburn.
“Each of our women are sparking change of who you typically see on a construction site, and we want to educate and inspire the younger generation about all the possibilities a career in construction offers,” said Angela Gardner, Director of Business Development and Marketing for Hill Electric who also serves on the Women Construction Forum’s leadership team. “I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity to share our stories with the next generation of leaders in construction, and for these young students being able to take advantage of so many insightful educational and career tips.”
About the Women in Construction Form
The Women Construction Forum is an organization that provides education, experience and personal connection for women in fields surrounding both residential and commercial construction, including contractors, architects, project managers, business owners and many more. Founded in 2019 in Upstate South Carolina, the forum meets monthly, with the vision to “help build up women and their voices in the construction arena by empowering, engaging, and mentoring women entering the industry.” Learn more about the Women Construction Forum by contacting Rachel Veltri or Angela Gardner.
About Anderson Districts I and II Career and Technology Center
Anderson Districts I and II Career and Technology Center serves nearly 2,000 9th- through 12th-grade students from Palmetto, Powdersville, Wren and Belton-Honea Path High Schools with 21 high-tech programs.