A Week of Encouragement, Empowerment and Exposure 12 Colorado Public Works Journal by Molly Schmitt As the media sponsor for Transportation and Construction Girl, Colorado Public Works Journal offered the girls an opportunity to be published in this issue. "I wanted to start the Transportation & Construction Girl program be- cause it is deeply important to me that amazing young women have more career options. I believe every young woman has the right to a rewarding and financially sustainable career. The transportation and construction industry needs these bright young women!" said Keller Hayes, Hoya Foundation. I recently had the amazing opportunity to attend a Transportation & Construction Girl week hosted by the Hoya Foundation along with nine other fabulous young ladies. Throughout the course of the week we were exposed to all kinds of career oppor- tunities in the construction and transportation industry and along the way we got to meet amazing and inspiring women in the industry. “Getting young girls interested in non-traditional roles is just the first step to closing the gender gap. Programs like Career Days for Girls get young women not only interested, but immersed in these non- traditional roles, and it allows them the opportunity to see themselves in those roles and in the employees that currently work there. It is a valuable perspective to have when it comes time to choose a career path.” said Michelle Spreutels Martinez, RTD. For an entire week we got to tour different companies in the construction and transportation industry. Each company had a well thought out day put together to help show us all the career opportunities at their company. Some days were filled with hands on experiences and other days were filled with tours of more behind the scenes things we wouldn't normally ever see. On the first day, we visited the control and command centers of RTD and went on a tour of Union Station. RTD also set up panels of women to tell their stories, give us advice and gave us the opportunity to ask questions. Everyone there encouraged us to take advantage of this opportunity by asking questions and networking.“I believe that it is our duty as women to reach out to young ladies and share our knowledge. Remember take your daughter to work day before it was changed to take your child to work day. It was a concept that was created to put the spotlight on girls and expose them to careers that they would probably never think about. It’s great to see the spotlight back on girls with a program like this! Our young ladies need to be able to envision the endless possibilities and opportunities that are just waiting for them! I hope they enjoyed their visit, I know I did!” said Beverly Lindsay, RTD. The next day we went to Martin Marietta. We got to see their asphalt plant where most paving companies come to get asphalt. Then we got to see them in action working on a road. It was really neat to talk to the project manager about what was happening. It takes a lot of coordination to make a road! We also got to tour their office and learn how to put a bid together. It was interesting to see different aspects of the industry. Wednesday we went to Wagner Equipment. This day was super active and hands on. Not only did we get to drive the excavators but we got a tour of most all of the shops. We got to see all kinds of hands on active careers that require different skill sets. Then during lunch they brought in women who told us about their jobs and answered our questions. Thursday we went to Denver International Airport now known as DEN. We got to see and learn about all the work happening at DEN as well as learn about some conspiracies about the airport. Then we got to tour the HVAC facility that runs for the entire airport. Before this I never even thought about why DEN was warm or cold when it needs to be. During and before lunch we were given a huge opportunity to network and learn about all the jobs that help the airport run. Then we got an incredible tour of the airfield at DEN. We got to see behind the scenes things you would never know were there. Friday we went to P&H. This was the first and only small company we got to see. We heard about different jobs and then saw P&H in action working at a school. Hortensia Villano, the owner of P&H volunteered her time all week because she believes so strongly in the effect this Photo credits: The Hoya Foundation.