Welding, Pipe Fitting Taught at Unique Girls' Camp in Irvington

Welding, Pipe Fitting Taught at Unique Girls' Camp in Irvington

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IRVINGTON, Ala. -

The sparks are flying and the "girl power" is abundant inside the shop at Bryant Career Technical Center in Irvington.

Twenty 8th and 9th grade girls from Mobile have been chosen for this special chance to learn the tricks of many trades.

"It's amazing to learn how to do this kind of stuff," said Mikalela Bates, a Sophomore at Davidson High School. "You can learn carpentry and plumbing, and it's kind of nice."

Construction fields have typically been male-dominated industries, but Girls Can Camp aims to inspire young women that they can do anything a man can do.

"They just really tell us that it doesn't matter about your gender, because you can still do it." said Kayla Heard, a Freshman at Murphy High School. "This is my first time doing something like this and I was really nervous, but it's really exciting."

During the week-long boot camp, the girls learn a variety of skills including welding, pipe fitting, carpentry, and electrical work. And because the event is sponsored by several local groups like Alabama Power, Austal and Go Build Alabama, it's free for participants.

Female welders are on hand all week to assist and coach the girls.

"I would love to see more women be able to get into that field to be able to weld," said Tonya Byrd, the only female mechanic welder in her shop. "I think It'd be a great opportunity for them. It's been a great opportunity for me because I love helping children."

Industry leaders are now targeting women as an untapped resource, in a field which is in high demand, with low interest.

"There is a shortage projected in many construction type fields, and we hope that many of these girls will see this as an opportunity to jump in and fill some of that shortage in the future," said Beth Thomas with Alabama Power.

This is the second year for the camp. Twenty girls are chosen by their teachers to participate, and this year they represent eight high schools and four middle schools in Mobile County.

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