Fort Wayne, Ind. (WANE) – A construction worker, an architect, a marine. These are just some of the career choices women now have that they didn’t decades ago. Architect Megan Crites decided to bring a first of its kind event to Fort Wayne area schools that explores current career opportunities for women. It’s called the N.E.W Workshop. “N.E.W. stands for Non-Traditional Employment for Women,” said Crites. “It’s the first time it’s been done in Allen County. It’s actually a program that began in Warsaw about 15 years ago.”
Crites decided to partner with Fort Wayne Community Schools and local businesses to bring N.E.W. to the Summit City this year. It specifically targets sophomore girls in high school. “The school district is focusing a lot on career choice and college choice options for the students,” said Crities. “So we we’re working with that age group to tie-in with things that they’re learning at the schools.”
On October 3, 2017, 110 sophomore girls participated in the free workshop. They learned about careers in everything from construction to the marines and even television news reporting. They spent time at different information booths and exhibits and enjoyed lunch. The day long event also came with an inspirational message given by News Channel 15’s Terra Brantley. Later in the day, the event also offered time for one-on-one career conversations and networking to help the girls look at career paths they may or may not want to take. “I went to a construction exhibit,” said Alliyah Kizer. “I learned construction is something that I really don’t want to do. I want to be a nurse.”
Melissa Hall from Bona Vita Architecture is one of many career women who dedicated a day to talk with the students. “The fact that I’m a female and an interior designer and part owner of an architecture firm is definitely very rare,” said Hall. “So that was my message to the girls. I told them that just because it hasn’t been done much or done at all doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I brought a ton of little inspirational notes and I wanted the girls to take them and put them on their mirror every morning, look at them and get inspired.”
“There are a lot of different jobs I didn’t know about,” said Lizette Valadez. “Basically you can do anything if you put your mind to it.” N.E.W. Worshop organizers plan to expand the event to all Allen County high schools next year.