The 2018 Nontraditional Employment for Women Opportunities Workshop was held last Thursday, November 1st at Quaker Haven Camp in Syracuse, IN. In its 16th year, this workshop provides a unique opportunity for young women from area high schools to see the possibilities for their future with a career that each may not have thought about or known was available to them. The purpose of the workshop is to expand career possibilities for young women to consider and hopefully find one of interest.
About 200 sophomore girls from Warsaw, Wawasee, Tippecanoe Valley, Whitko, Fairfield, & West Noble schools attended this workshop, which was sponsored by the Warsaw Area Career Center, the Wawasee Area Career & Technical Cooperative, the Carl D. Perkins Grant, & the Warsaw Education Foundation. With almost 50 adult women representing their respective careers in attendance, the information presented to the students included education & training, typical workday, work environment, wage information, employment forecast, and advantages for women in these occupations.
With a theme of “It’s Raining Women in STEM,” the morning began with keynote speaker Cindi Clawson, Meteorologist with WNDU-TV, who started off our workshop with an inspiring message about women in STEM careers. She shared what trends she’s noticed over the years as many more women are entering what were traditionally male-dominated fields, however numbers are still on the lower side with some unequal opportunities with men vs. women. Cindi also touched on the increasing number of jobs that require STEM skills and how women are still underrepresented in STEM, especially in computer fields. Towards the end of her address, Cindi encouraged the young women in attendance to always support each other, to work hard, and remember that many women have come before them to pave the way, but to also keep that momentum going.
Before the students had the chance to participate in six different round-table discussions, Ronna Kawsky, Director of the WACC, recognized the woman responsible for/behind the N.E.W. Workshop. 17 years ago Diana Yarian, WACC Program Specialist, found the idea for the workshop & ran with it. Because of her hard work, dedication to this workshop, and passion for nontraditional careers in women, so many student’s lives have been impacted over the years and the WACC & WACTC are immensely grateful for her work.
Following a wonderful taco bar lunch, students had the opportunity for hands-on experiences through “try-it” activities where they could actually experience different careers. These activities included building a tool-box, a virtual welder simulation, doing a TV weather report, wiring a electric circuit board, drilling into a prosthetic knee, landscaping/designing your own garden, cardiac catheterization- stent simulation, suturing on bananas, creating/carving centerpieces out of fruit & veggies, dog handling/training, flight simulations, and much more!
The Warsaw Area Career Center and the Wawasee Career and Technical Cooperative offer a huge “THANK YOU” to all of the phenomenal women who took time from their busy schedules to participate in the N.E.W. Opportunities Workshop. Their dedication and commitment inspires students to pursue their dreams and we are profoundly grateful for their involvement in our workshop!
Another special thanks to our other contributions from Building Trades students from WACC & WACTC, Ceres Solutions, Quaker Haven Camp, WCS Maintenance Staff, & Wyndham Garden Warsaw.