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Be a Model. Break the Mold.

Be a Model. Break the Mold.

By Katie Stone

The Texarkana Chamber of Commerce of Texarkana, USA has implemented a new endeavor on connecting youth with educated, working women in our community. The Program Manager for Workforce Development, Camille Powell, is using grant money to inspire young women that are interested in non-traditional career roles.

U.S. Department of Labor defines non-traditional careers as jobs or positions that are most often filled with individuals of either men or women resulting in only 25% of the specified gender. For example, computer technicians are a male dominated career with 75% being males and nursing assistant careers are comprised of 75% females.

Some examples of non-traditional careers for women include Auto/Diesel Mechanic, Chef, Information Technology, Construction Worker, Welder, Carpenter, HVAC Technician, Firefighter, Law Enforcement, Engineer, and Architect.

Camille hosted an event known as “Be a Model. Break the Mold.” last year with great success. She recruited local, professional women working in non traditional roles to join this event as a mentor for young girls in the community. “What I really wanted to get out of this event, is to cultivate a mentor/mentee relationship between the girls & the professionals,”she said. She encourages the professionals to paint an honest picture of their jobs through myth busting and Q&A. “I am a big proponant of ‘You have a seat at the table no matter what,” she said. “The event has grown since last year, so we couldn’t do one round table discussion like we had in the past. This year we divided into groups.”

The professionals will help the youth understand not only the day to day in their career, but also the challenges that come with it, and how they accomplished it all. “I am going to ask the professionals questions about what their career pathways looked like getting to that point and what certificates or degrees did they need to get in order to be in that role,” Camille said.

Each professional will get the opportunity to introduce themselves to the whole group and once they sit down at their assigned tables, they will have a more in-depth conversations with those sitting at the same table. This is a great opportunity for young women to truly understand what a career in an interested field looks like to determine if it is the career for her. This also allows other attendees to learn about other career paths that they may not have previously thought of. After the table discussions are finished, the attendees will get an opportunity to meet with any of the professionals to ask questions and learn more about them. Each event will include a contact list for the professionals sent to the teacher/school of the attendees. “This allows the teachers to communicate with the professionals if the students have more
questions and want to learn more,” Camille said.

For more information regarding this program or any other programs with the Chamber of Commerce Texarkana USA’s workforce devcelopment, contact Camille Powell via email at [email protected].

See Also

Texarkana Chamber of Commerce
819 N State Line Ave.
Texarkana, TX 75501

Be a Model. Break the Mold speakers & attendees at the event in 2023.

Be a Model. Break the Mold speakers & attendees at the event in 2024.

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