Breaking down barriers can be intimidating, but McCarthy Building Companies has tried to help young women who think a career in the construction industry might be what they are looking for.
In recent years, the McCarthy Partnership for Women has offered a Construction 101 Day, designed to introduce high school girls to the opportunities available to them.
High school students and their mentors gathered at McCarthy’s office in Newport Beach on Saturday, marking the third annual Construction 101 event. It was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Participants toured four stations, each run by a different company in the construction industry. For her part, McCarthy asked the girls to pour concrete into a mold which, when dried, created an image of a construction worker they could take home.
Hilti allowed students to work with power tools, and in particular, an automatic screwdriver which was used to run screws through drywall. The structure was designed to resemble Rosie the Riveter, a long-standing symbol of women in the workforce.
There were also stations that taught students how to work with electrical panels, as well as safety practices for using a crane.
Manasi Pitkar, director of preconstruction and head of the Construction 101 committee for McCarthy, said the goal of the program is to get women to think about the possibility of a career in the field. He already has some successes.
Joy Gonzalez, 20, of the Pine Mountain Club, who now works for electrical contractor AJ Kirkwood and Associates, Inc., attended the initial Construction 101 event.
Gonzalez said his father worked in the construction industry and his ambition had always been to work in a field dominated by men. She still dreams of becoming a pilot.
âYou watch a movie and you only pay attention to the actors,â Gonzalez said. âI like knowing that I’m like the directors at the back of the building. The people who designed it, it’s amazing, but now I can empower it.
For Kim Camacho-Pacheco, a junior at Estancia High School, it was a class offer that served as the spark that ignited his passion for construction. She said she had considered ceramics before she ended up in class.
Camacho-Pacheco has now participated in the three McCarthy’s Construction 101 days.
âI didn’t think construction would have been anything to me, but as I continued to stay in this class, I learned a lot, and what keeps me going are women in construction,â said declared Camacho-Pacheco. âSeeing women working in construction makes me more inspired. “
Camacho-Pacheco added that if she sticks to construction classes at Estancia throughout her senior year, she will become the first student to receive a construction medal upon graduation.
âIt’s super cool because I want to be able to inspire young women and freshmen to join construction and say, ‘This is for girls too. It’s not just for guys, âsaid Camacho-Pacheco. “That’s why I want to see more girls join us.”
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