Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Empowering the Next Generation of Women Builders

It’s no secret that the construction industry has historically been dominated by men. But that’s starting to change. As girls see more women breaking into and leading in the skilled trades, they can see themselves in these essential careers. Empowering girls to go for what they feel passionate about, but perhaps have previously been deterred from due to societal norms, is critical to leveling the playing field. And to really hit the nail on the head, we must create more opportunities for girls to learn about the wide array of possibilities for their futures—and the skills, education, and training they’ll need to get there.

Let’s look at some concrete (😉) evidence that points to the industry’s current lack of opportunity for girls and women:
  • FACT: Only 11% of construction workers and 27% of architecture and engineering professionals are women, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, while just 9% of National Association of Home Builders members are women.
  • FACT: According to a 2021 report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “A majority (62%) of contractors report high difficulty finding skilled workers, up from 55% who said the same last quarter (and up 20 points year-over-year).”
Girl Scouts and The Home Depot Foundation are on a mission to fill the skilled labor gap and diversify the workforce. Best place to start? You guessed it—by creating, strengthening, and amplifying opportunities for girls in the construction industry! Our friends at The Home Depot Foundation hosted pilot workshops in three markets for Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador-level Girl Scouts in 8th to 12th grade, providing introductory trades training experience and career education to participants. Girl Scouts built ADA-compliant picnic tables from scratch under the watchful eye of women industry professionals who served as inspiring role models. Check out their tool-riffic progress in a photo recap below:

Girl Scouts of San Jacinto

First things first—let’s get the measurements right.

And definitely leave a mark!

Girl Scouts of Colorado


Getting help from women industry leaders is the best!

Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta

Tools, camera, action!

Finished product looks great.

Gold Award Girl Scout Alexis Bartley beautifully summarized the initiative: “Programs such as Girl Scouts and Path to Pro provide a gateway for women in construction by recognizing our role not through stereotypes but through the lens of raw ability.”

But wait, there’s more! The Home Depot Foundation is also offering scholarship opportunities to high school seniors (you don’t have to be a Girl Scout to qualify) as part of its recently announced Path to Pro scholarship program, which grants financial assistance to eligible candidates for trade colleges or postsecondary programs. Scholarship recipients are selected quarterly (i.e., June 30, September 30, December 30, and March 31), so there’s plenty of time to submit your application.