June 1, 2018

When it comes to introducing teen girls to the many career opportunities available in the construction industry, who better to do so than an all-female team of DPR professionals?

That’s just what took place this spring at a DPR-hosted workshop titled “You Got This!” for the Girls Empowerment Network (GEN) Austin.

The gathering was part of GEN’s Pathfinder workshop series. It marked DPR’s first one-on-one event with an organization whose mission is “to ignite the power in girls by teaching them the skills to thrive and believe in their ability to become unstoppable.” Formed in 1996, GEN has arms in Houston and Austin focused on offering rising ninth to 12th grade girls a professional development program and a head start on their road to independence, college and career.

GENaustin's mission is to “to ignite the power in girls by teaching them the skills to thrive and believe in their ability to become unstoppable.” Photo courtesy of Diane Shelton

The half-day workshop brought together eight GEN teens with five DPR professionals at DPR’s Austin office. DPR community initiative liaison Angie Weyant said that the small group atmosphere offered ample opportunity for participants to become better acquainted as they took part in an array of interactive exercises and activities.

To kick it all off, the DPR women shared the diverse paths each had taken into construction careers ranging from project executive to project engineer, estimating, marketing and administrative roles. The girls also had a chance to watch DPR’s “Celebrating Women Who Build” video, which even featured Andrea Weisheimer, one of the workshop volunteers.

Eight GEN teens and five DPR professionals came together for a half-day workshop at DPR's Austin office. Photo courtesy of Diane Shelton

The group then squared off on two opposing teams to play a DPR-developed game, “Operation Renovation,” a collaborative construction management game that shows players how the different roles on a construction site interact with each other.

The April workshop also included a chance for DPR volunteers and the girls to pair up for one-on-one “power chats” that honed their interview skills through rapid-fire Q&A sessions. A final exercise focused on bravery and resilience, which were key themes of the workshop.

“Bravery and resilience were great topics to reflect on, even as an adult,” Weyant said. “The girls seemed to love the workshop, and we’re looking forward to growing our relationship with them, to leverage our abilities and experiences to help further their mission and hopefully, encourage some of these bright young women to consider a construction career themselves.”

The DPR team looks forward to growing its relationship with GEN and hopefully, encourage some of these bright young women to consider a construction career themselves. Photo courtesy of Claudia Arellano