The nonprofit organization Girls Build holds camps across the country to teach girls skilled trades like construction, plumbing, electricity, auto mechanics, and more.
Founded in 2016, the camps are located in Oregon and Washington, led by an all-female group of instructors for week-long training in as many as 10 trades, CityLab reports. Katie Hughes, founder and executive director of Girls Build, says, “If you want to help women get into the trades at an earlier age and start taking advantage of being in a career that they love—and working in a living-wage career—then you need to start engaging them at a younger age,” adding, “There’s something really satisfying about being a person who can fix things. I don’t want girls to be robbed of that feeling.”
Whatever the cause, this disparity has had an impact on equity and diversity in the trades, effectively robbing these industries of a wide array of perspectives and skills, said Nicole Smith, chief economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. It also means that women are largely left out of jobs that often pay more than the average starting salary for someone with a four-year degree. The jobs typically require a short, inexpensive training period, and they come with well-defined career growth.