All Girls Construction Camp Breaks Down Stereotypical Career Paths

DES MOINES, Iowa – Des Moines Public Schools and the Iowa Department of Education are teaming up for a free all girls construction camp.

Education Consultant for Iowa Department of Education Jeanette Thomas said the idea of the camp is to offer opportunities to learn about fields that are non-traditional for their gender.

“It’s just those opportunities. Breaking down those stereotypical walls of career paths with women typically enter, and letting them know about all of these other opportunities where they can use their creativity and their imagination in order to give back to society in a sense,” Thomas said.

Fourteen-year-old Paige Hollatz said she signed up for the construction camp, because she is interested in the career.

“I had noticed that I had a lot of interest in construction and architecture, and I want to go in to architecture as a career one day,” Hollatz said.

Thomas said over 30 girls are enrolled in the week-long program ages 14 to 18.

The construction camp focuses on careers in engineering, manufacturing, carpentry, architecture, electrical, masonry, plumbing/HVAC, painting, tiling and more.

“Well for example, we will be doing is visiting a site dealing with masonry. They will be able to construct maybe a small project dealing with those types of materials. Then, when we do the electrical site visit, they will be able to do something around the area of electrical components,” Thomas said.

During the full week girls will listen to different speakers in the morning about their experience in different fields and then go on field trips to do hands-on work.

“I’ve had a lot of interest in these things and I finally get a chance to have more experience and more in-depth experience with it,” Hollatz said.

Thomas said the department hopes to create a similar camp for boys interested in the nursing field in the future.