Girl Power campers introduced to careers focused on science, technology and math
Ponca City Now - July 6, 2018 11:22 am
Ponca Works runs an annual summer camp called Girl Power and it happened at the end of June this year.
It’s a day camp free to students who are recommended by their teachers. The point is to introduce 8th grade girls to careers in our area that are focused on science, technology and math.
The program came about 4 years ago when Ponca Works was scouring the workforce for more welders and fabricators with many open positions at local companies. These were jobs that required little to no experience but had the potential to make a living wage or more with time and skill attainment.
The positions continued to go unfilled, but when an office position was posted, there were hundreds of female applicants. Much of this is attributed to misconception about of male-led industries and the lack of knowledge about them.
Enter: Girl Power!
The local employers, that Ponca Works was created to serve, know the state of our workforce in the area well, as they struggle to fill positions in their fast-moving industries. Even the regular Joes can tell the state of the workforce when they drive down the main drag of an area and see each fast food agency hosting weekly open interviews.
This is not Ponca City specific, or even Oklahoma specific; it is a nationwide issue that many minds are working to solve. The common thread of discussion centers on automation in the workplace, which will leave the jobs left as more skilled, especially in the technology arena.
While you may not see the results of programs like this for a while, this is one way in which Ponca Works is combatting those skilled jobs gaps.
The camp toured 11 local industries in which the employers shared their fastest growing positions, highlighted the women in their organizations and showed the campers what their industry looks like on a day-to-day basis.
“This is such a valuable program for Ponca City’s employers, and we will see the outcome of what it does for them as the first participants of Girl Power graduate in two more years,” said Liz Leaming, camp director “It will be a program that will continue to be refined and grow as we develop what is best for the companies in Ponca City.”
Pioneer Technology Center collaborated with PCDA to bring this camp to Ponca City. The use of their campus for hands-on activities made the science, technology and manufacturing come to life for the campers involved.
The girls created a wireless blue tooth speaker to take home with them. The skills they learned included carpentry, engineering, chemistry, skilled manufacturing, and, of course, design. Even while soldering their circuit boards and using a metal lathe, their projects still turned out colorful, bejeweled and glittery.