WEST SENECA, N.Y.— On Wednesday, May 22, Professional Women in Construction (PWC) in conjunction with Kemper System America led a group of teenage girls and a teacher flown in from the Bronx Design & Construction Academy (BDCA), a high school located in the South Bronx, on a tour of the company’s production facility in West Seneca, N.Y. The tour is part of PWC’s new Mentorship program that introduces young women to career opportunities in the nontraditional fields of construction, design and related industries.
Since PWC President Lenore Janis and a committee launched the Mentorship program in the fall of 2012, the organization has taken groups of girls to a variety of job sites in New York City and introduced them to executive women and entrepreneurs working in the field. On the tour, they applied a test of the company’s “odor-free” Kemperol®2K PUR (two-part polyurethane) liquid-resin waterproofing membrane system.
Kemper Managing Director Richard Doornink was glad to support the PWC tour. “The Mentorship program opens up opportunities to show young people possible future career choices,” he said.
PWC Mentorship Committee Chair Dorothy Wasiak, vice president of PCGNY Corp., said, “This tour has empowered tomorrow’s women to know that they can enter the world of construction.”
Kathleen Courteau, chief administrative officer, Kemper System, said, “There is a great demand for women in construction …We hope to convey the message to the next generation that they should ‘go for it.’”
Chaira Mejia, the BDCA teacher who accompanied the girls on the tour said, “This visit allowed the students to obtain a better insight of what the construction world entails, and empowered them to strive for success in a male-dominated field.”
The students’ response was enthusiastic. Chelyn Fabian said, “Why are all different trades male-dominated? It’s time for me as a woman to make a change.”
Sunelly Olivares enjoyed the hands-on opportunities the tour provided, such as a waterproofing demonstration they were able to participate in. She said, “It’s not only what we are told… we have to see and be exposed to opportunities like these trips… We not only saw things, but we made them.”
“The Mentorship program is the perfect means for PWC to let young women know that they belong in this industry in every way; laborer, manager, owner — every path is open to pursue,” Janis said.