October 4, 2022 (Roanoke, VA) – The Branch Group is excited to announce their inaugural G.I.R.L (Girls in Real Life) Construction Experience, to be hosted at their headquarters in Roanoke, Virginia, on Saturday, October 22, 2022. The free event will be held from 10 AM to 2 PM and is open to pre-registered girls ages 5 to 18.
This event, hosted by the Branch Group and the Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline, and supported by other construction partners and contractors, will offer real-life, kid-friendly experiences covering all facets of construction.
“By the time girls enter high school, less than 12% will consider a career in STEM. It is important that girls are exposed to every aspect of construction, science, technology, engineering, and math as early as possible. At Girl Scouts, STEM is one of the four program pillars upon which all programming is based. Because we know that, when given the opportunity, girls thrive in these areas, which they’re often not encouraged to explore outside Girl Scouts. 77% of Girl Scouts say that their Girl Scout experience has prompted them to consider a career in technology which is considerably higher than the national average for non-Girl Scouts. If we want to close the gender gap in construction and STEM fields, we must ensure that all girls have access to high-quality construction and STEM learning experiences. Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline is proud to partner with Branch Group, and we are thrilled to support the efforts for girls to expand their learning in the construction field,” states Nikki Williams, CEO for Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council.
Some events girls will be able to experience include the Girl Scout’s Mobile STEM Center, excavator tennis, BIM (Building Information Modeling) constructability, soldering, surveying and measuring, design, and safety demonstrations. Roanoke and Salem city schools will be in attendance to talk to parents about programs and courses available to their kids.
While a recent milestone was hit in 2022, with 1 million women working in construction, the industry still falls behind compared to other industries. Women only make up 14.1% of the workforce, and many of those jobs are still in female-traditional roles, such as accounting, marketing, sales, and administration. Recent decades have seen the erosion of funding for traditional vocational training in both middle and high schools, leaving the construction workforce with not just a lack of women but a lack of talent across the board.
With 53% of the workforce set to retire by 2036, and the construction industry already facing a workforce shortage of 650,000 this year, companies are running the risk of not having enough skilled workers to complete the infrastructure needed to grow in the United States.
The Branch Group is working to meet this challenge head-on through various initiatives to bring awareness to this issue. The first is working to connect with kids and allow them to explore the opportunities available to them. Through a partnership with Carter Machinery, Branch built a 1,500-SF. Construction Zone in Kids Square, an interactive children’s play museum.
“By getting kids excited and interested in construction early is key. When we ask our employees what made them pursue a career in construction, they always go back to a childhood memory that sparked their interest,” says Kenna Smith, Talent Acquisition Manager. “The opportunities here are endless, and it’s one of the only careers where there is so much mobility and variety.”