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Construction Camp for Girls teaching young women they can do anything a man can

The girls start off in a classroom learning from professional women who are already out in the field. They end by learning hands-on skills.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Girls can do anything boys can! That's the motto for a girls-only construction camp put on by the Iowa Department of Education. 

Non-traditional careers are jobs where less than 25% of people in those careers are of one gender. For example, construction for females and nurses for males. 

Brooklyn Brown, a freshman at Southeast Polk, said she wants to be an architect, but when she thinks about someone going into that career she thinks of it as male-dominated and wants to change that.

“It shouldn’t really matter what gender you are. It just matters if you do it good. If you do it bad," said Brown. "That’s the only thing that should matter.”

Kendyl Hart, a sophomore at South East Polk, said she wants to be a pig farmer and gender stereotypes should be broken.

“No matter if you’re a boy or a girl you can do whatever you want as long as you put your mind to it," explained Hart. 

The girls start in a classroom from professional women that are experienced in construction, carpentry, masonry, plumbing, and electrical work. At the end of the day, they do hands-on activities with these fields. 

“It was about breaking down those stereotypes that women can be professionals within this field and they can be successful within this field," said Jeanette Thomas, an education consultant at the Iowa Department of Education. 

Steph Reed, a homebuilder, said the hardest part of the job is all in your head. 

"A lot of times it comes from thinking because I am a female in a male-dominated industry that there’s something different about that or there’s something wrong with that and it couldn’t be further from the truth," explained Reed.

The camp meets the criteria for the Future Ready Iowa initiative that calls for 70% of Iowans to have training/education beyond high school by 2025.

The camp is free and lasts all week.

This year is full, but you can sign up for next year's at Iowa Skilled Trades.

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