Since 1998, Women in Construction Week has been celebrating and promoting the role of women in the construction industry. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, "More women work as tradeswomen than as dental hygienists or veterinarians. Yet tradeswomen are only 3.9% of those who work with the tools in construction." In celebration of Women in Construction Week, we interviewed one of our Build Academy participants, Nia!
Why do you enjoy construction and the trades?
I really like to keep my hands busy. I'm more like an artist in a way. I like painting and sculpting. I feel like construction is art. I'm fast learning and flexible and like to learn different things. I just love to build things, y'know, see the foundation and then the whole masterpiece.
Nia working alongside Findorff and her OFS crew supervisor on UWCU's new corporate headquarters at 8101 Excelsior Dr in Madison.
How did you get where you are now?
I'm 22 now, so probably like 20, I knew I wanted to get into construction. But I never knew how to get into it. You got to find out who's connected and stuff, and I just never could find who could help me. I went to Urban League and they introduced me to more stuff about construction and they thought it was best for me to start at OFS. I've learned so much here.
What specific path do you want to go down next?
I'm really into carpentry and finishing, so like painting and I love doing flooring, tiling. People here notice that I'm very good with details.
What advice do you have for other young women?
Never feel intimidated by anybody around you or your environment. Sometimes it gets tough. One thing with me is I don't really ask for help until I really, actually really need it. I really like to prove myself wrong. Sometimes in your mind you will think that I can't do this. But once you take time and grasp what you're doing, you can break it down and handle it. Always think about the real reason why you're there and don't let anybody around you dictate the reason you're there.
The Operation Fresh Start Build Academy is a full-time, hands-on, paid training program for ages 18–24. Learn more about Build Academy today!