Local middle school students at the six-week Rosie’s Girls camp learned about the many future career opportunities available to them — particularly in jobs traditionally thought to have been exclusive to men — during a Career Day event at Kennedy High on Wednesday.
More than a dozen career women representing local trades and businesses attended the fifth running of the Career Day event. Professionals such as engineers, tool makers, pipe trades experts, carpenters and Richmond fire fighters demonstrated their career skills before 29 sixth, seventh, and eighth public school students from Richmond.
The 29 students have been learning a ton during the Rosie’s Girls camp, which introduces them to the trades and STEM careers (science, technology, engineering and math). The camp’s theme honors the iconic Rosie the Riveter, the character on WWII-era posters summoning American women to work, many in factories, while men battled overseas.
In its eighth year, the camp is offered for free to youth from low-income families. This year, as in past years, students are learning the basics of welding and carpentry while at the same take going on various fun and educational field trips. Last week, they went sailing in the Bay. They also plan to tour the Chevron Richmond Refinery property to learn about engineering, chemicals and pipe welding, among other fields.
The kids will also tour the SS Red Oak Victory and Rosie the Riveter Visitor’s Center, and at the end of camp every year they take a trip to Yosemite.
The camp is meant not only to provide opportunities and experiences to low-income youth who may not otherwise have them, but also to build character, confidence and teamwork skills, says Marsha Mather-Thrift, executive director of Rosie the Riveter Trust, which organizes and raises the funds for Rosie’s Girls camp.
The girls represent a new wave of diversity in the workplace, where women have become powerful in skills, trades, careers, including science and mathematics, Mather-Drift said. They are learning not to be discouraged by careers traditionally assumed by men.
“I think (Rosie’s Girls) is hugely valuable…it’s really empowering and opens up new worlds for them,” Mather-Thrift said.
Rosie’s Girls supporters include Chevron, Kaiser Permanente, Wells Fargo and Mechanics Bank.
Here are some more photos from Career Day: