SEPTEMBER 13, 2023, ROANOKE, VA: Branch is pleased to announce plans to host their 2nd annual G.I.R.L. (Girls in Real Life) Construction Experience. This one-day, festival-style event, held at the Branch company headquarters in Roanoke, Virginia, gives girls ages five to 18 the opportunity to explore construction and engineering concepts in a hands-on setting.
Branch aims to bring awareness to all the opportunities that are available in the industry that are often overlooked by girls, parents, and teachers alike. Women make up only 14% of the total construction workforce, and most of those jobs are in roles that are traditionally held by women, such as human resources, accounting, marketing, and sales. Research by the Girl Scouts showed that less than 12% of girls will consider STEM careers by the time they enter high school. Many reasons were cited, but the most common theme was around these industries being male-dominated, a lack of exposure to the possibilities, and the absence of female role models. Branch created this event to reach elementary and middle school-aged girls to showcase their opportunities, meet and talk to successful women professionals, and build confidence in pursuing a career in construction and engineering.
Branch CEO Donald Graul said, “This personally is one of my favorite events of the year. Branch is committed to diversity in our construction workforce including gender diversity. It’s exciting to see more women in hands-on construction roles and as a company we are working hard to eliminate barriers that keep women from entering the construction industry.”
With like-minded partners, girls will experience many facets of this world, while participating in creative, physical, and critical-thinking activities. Operating an excavator, learning about cranes and rigging, creating tile designs, projecting project cost estimates, building a structure to withstand an earthquake, experience virtual reality with a walk-through of real hospital, explore the Girl Scouts Mobile Stem Center, and much more.
By giving girls the freedom to explore these concepts in a safe and non-judgmental zone, they are more likely to consider construction and engineering educational pathways and careers.
A parent surveyed after last year’s event said, “Your event today was amazing. My 7-year-old absolutely loved it…Tonight after dinner, she got her helmet and safety glasses and showed off all her stickers to her dad and brother. Then she got her tape measure and started talking about the importance of proper surveying and measuring. She also was teaching her brother about architects and the stages of building. Amazing.”
Roanoke City and Roanoke County CTE program leaders will be on site at the event, to explain possible educational pathways to parents and kids. Branch is also one of the few employers in the region that offers paid apprenticeships to students before they graduate high school, allowing them to build careers years before their peers and with less or no debt.
Branch is dedicated to building diversity in the construction industry and is involved in several initiatives to encourage equality and opportunity. Participation in Construction Inclusion Week is a country-wide effort to improve diversity and inclusion in the industry through education and resources. The company’s internal workforce development taskforce committee focuses on growing untapped talent pipelines, such as training programs in underserved communities and second-chance training programs. In 2020, Branch created its first women’s resource group, and has since improved employee benefits for women, providing a longer maternity leave and IVF coverage.
The event will be held on October 7, 2023, from 10 AM to 4 PM at 3635 Peters Creek Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Free registration has already closed, but a waitlist is open by visiting www.girlsbuild.com.
A huge thank you to our partners and sponsors who have committed to bringing more women to our industry: Girl Scouts of Skyline Council, Trane, Carter Machinery, Lanford Brothers, United Rentals, Kirby-Cundiff/Firestop of Virginia, Central Carolina Seeding, Associated Asphalt, Balzer & Associates, Robins & Morton, Rockydale Quarries, Oya Construction, Exact Stormwater Management, E.C. Pace Company, Superior Steel, US Crane, Hobbs & Associates, Advanced Drainage Systems, Bohling Steel, Heavy Construction Contractors Association, Permatile Concrete Products, Hoffman Hydronics, CP&P, Virginia 811, White Cap, Whitt Carpet One, Hobbs & Associates, and NEFCO.
For event information, please visit www.girlsbuild.com
Headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, and serving clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States, Branch touches all aspects of the built environment. As a full-service construction solutions partner, Branch is committed to exceptional performance and to developing business relationships sustained by mutual benefit and respect.
Branch has total revenues of nearly $480 million and a workforce of over 1,000 employee owners. Through their Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), Branch ensures every employee has a vested interest in their success.
Visit www.branchgroup.com to learn more.
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