Career aspirations can form early, but many job fields consistently fail to attract young women.
Whether it’s the lack of representation or low awareness that certain career options are even an option, women are pursuing certain job opportunities in far fewer numbers than men.
“One of the things that we know looking at our data is that we do not have a lot of young women who are selecting careers in welding, machining, construction, computer science,” said Lori Peacock, CEO of the Golden Isles College and Career Academy. “And we would like to see a more even mix of students in all of our pathways.”
First comes awareness, and GICCA will host next week its first “This Girl Can” workshop for eighth and ninth-grade female students. The workshop, which will be hosted over three evenings on Jan. 14, Jan. 19 and Jan. 21, aims to introduce female students to nontraditional careers for women.
“What we know based on research and data is that getting girls interested in careers like manufacturing, welding, engineering, machining, computer science, IT, really needs to start happening in that seventh, eighth and ninth grade,” Peacock said.
The workshop will be open to six girls, who will each attend with a significant adult female who can be a mother or other family member 18 or older, teacher, friend or other mentor.
“Our first workshop is focused on welding and machining,” Peacock said. “Not only do they learn about careers in those areas, but they actually make a project using the tools of the trade.”
During the workshop, participants will make wind chimes out of leaves working with GICCA instructors. The project will be hands-on, Peacock said.
“They’re going to have to cut them, they’re going to have to grind them, they’re going to have to polish them, they’re going to have to weld,” she said. “They’ll actually put on a welding helmet and use the welder.”
During the first night, Peacock and GICCA Principal Joseph Depenhart will share information about the career academy and its pathway options so participants can begin considering signing up for classes.
The second night, GICCA will partner with Coastal Pines Technical College to host a panel discussion with some of the technical college’s welding students. The final night of the workshop will feature a virtual panel of female engineers hosted through a partnership with the Golden Isles Development Authority.
The women will speak about career opportunities in the manufacturing field.
“They’ll see the full circle of how this is a great opportunity for women,” Peacock said.
It’s also important for parents to learn more about the opportunities for their children and the career paths that can lead to high wages and great opportunities for women, she said.
The workshops will be hosted in a COVID-responsible manner. Participants will be limited to six pairs, and everyone will wear masks and be socially distanced.
Participants will need to register and commit to attending all three evenings. The deadline to register is Monday.
To register, call 912-280-6750. Registration is free, and participants will each receive a free t-shirt.
“Our goal is to offer these at least once a quarter so if people do call and this workshop is full we will continue to offer them as long as there’s interest,” Peacock said.