MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Northern Michigan University Construction Management program hosted an event titled “Women in Construction Day” for high school students on Friday.

The event is a hands-on career exploration opportunity featuring female professionals in the industry.

NMU says the day provides students with a unique opportunity to discover and experience options that are traditionally viewed as male-oriented. Participants were given the opportunity complete projects in a safe and well-supervised environment in areas such as graphic technology, woodworking, trade opportunities, leadership and construction management.

The event was held at NMU’s Jacobetti Complex and was free for students to attend.

NMU included the following statement about the event in a release earlier this month:

The construction industry has one of the smallest gender wage gaps (91.3%) between women and men, yet women account for only 9% of its workforce, according to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report. NMU Women in Construction Day is designed to allow students to interact with females in the industry to learn more about their story of how they came to this career.

“Any way that they can get into it, there are very successful career paths for everybody. And that’s really what today is about,” said Heidi Blanck, Associate Professor of Technology and Occupational Sciences at NMU. “They get to go through various stations in the day. There’s a woodshop activity, they make a project, they get to bring it home. There’s a welding activity, they have a project, they get to bring it home. And this year we have trades on site, too, which is new in the trades have all brought in various simulators to describe and help them understand what their jobs look like.”

The event allowed participants to meet volunteers, including one who decided to go into the industry after attending a ‘Women in Construction’ event in the past.

“I knew I wanted to be in a team and I knew I liked to see visible results. And so the Women in Construction event that I went to high school really opened my eyes to that,” said Raija Stille, a senior in NMU’s Construction Management Program. “After that I said I wanted to take more trades-based classes. So then in my senior year, I took more trade classes and I decided I want to do construction management. And without this event, I wouldn’t be here where I am today. I’m a senior in the program. So it’s it’s really special for me to be here today and really tell my story to girls who were once in my same exact position.”

To learn more and connect with NMU’s Construction Management Program, check out the program’s website here.