We are facing so many challenges in the labor and workforce and the construction industry right now, and people want to know why there aren’t more women employed in construction, the home-building industry, and the skilled trades.
I am a huge advocate for workforce development, women in construction, and women in the skilled trades, and I have come up with a solution! It’s a phenomenal project called The House That She Built.
I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach! I have Natalie Miles joining me today to discuss The House That She Built project and why it is so important, and explain how you can learn more about it.
Professional Women in Building
Natalie is a member of Professional Women in Building (PWB) and part of the council in Utah. She jumped on board after being invited to a kick-off event and meeting all the amazing women who worked in different areas of construction.
Natalie grew up in construction. After having her kids, she started a home staging company. Her customers often asked for her advice on various aspects of their homes. That motivated her to become a new construction designer. So she sold her home staging business about ten years ago and went into designing new construction full-time. Now, she works exclusively for a builder, doing their designs and managing their projects. Last spring, she became a general contractor.
Natalie did not learn anything about the work she does at school. She took it upon herself to learn everything while she was working on-site.
The House That She Built
The goal of Utah Professional Women in Building was to get more women into construction. So they decided to start a scholarship fund to encourage girls to get into construction work. As a fundraiser, they decided to have a house built entirely by girls. That was how the concept for The House That She Built was born.
Natalie went all-in, volunteered to be the materials coordinator, and managed to get almost all the materials for the project donated! They operated as a non-profit, and the money they made from The House That She Built project got used to create their scholarship fund.
An incredible experience
It was an incredible experience for all the Utah members of PWB to be involved in the House That She Built project and learn all the new skills that the project required! About 100 women worked on the house. They had skilled women from all over the US joining them. By the end of the project, they had all formed a lasting bond as a sisterhood!
It took about two years to coordinate the project before they started breaking ground. Then it took them less than a year to complete the construction. It was a challenging project, but they were successful!
Many designers were working on the house, so they divided the home into various spaces and allocated each area to a different designer. In the end, all the design aspects flowed together beautifully!
They built the house using many practices required for healthier and better homes!
In the garage, they created a collage of all the photos of the women working on the house. That impressed the younger generation who came to see the house after the construction had been completed!
A children’s book
Mollie Elkman was so impressed after seeing the house that she wrote a children’s picture book called The House That She Built!
Natalie and another designer went to a Girl Scouts troop meeting to read The House That She Built picture book, speak about construction, and help the girls build some birdhouses. Afterward, the girls posted pictures on social media, and the next day, Natalie had about 30 Girl Scout troops asking her to do the same thing!
Girl Scouts can now earn a patch for The House That She Built!
Changing the face of construction
The Utah PWB successfully created a significant scholarship fund that will expose many women to the skilled trades. They hope to inspire other PWBs to start similar projects across the nation. In doing that, they hope to change the face of construction!
Have a great green day!
Marla and Julia
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