Girls go ‘under the hood’ of technical education
One participant in last year’s Teens eXperiencing Technical Education said she learned that just because she was a girl didn’t mean she couldn’t do the things that boys do.
Those “boy” things included fixing cars, carpentry, computer repair and more during the summer Dakota County Technical College TXT workshops, which are back for a second year Monday, July 30-Friday, Aug. 3, at the Rosemount campus.
Last year, more than 150 girls in grades 5 through 8 got their hands dirty (and sometimes sterile clean) in technical programs, such as automotive, computer design, health, science and business.
“The excitement and energy the girls brought to our campus was amazing,” event organizer Linda Foster said.
Registration opened May 1 for the program, which is open to 200 girls for a $40 fee. Some scholarships are available for those in need of financial assistance.
One of last year’s participants said the program was beneficial because it introduced the girls to more careers than just being a teacher or a veterinarian.
Another said: “The coolest thing was working with cars. We got to do a lot of the work ourselves. And, we got to see an airbag explode.”
One girl said her favorite activity was analyzing blood tests “because we got to look through microscopes at sickness. It was cool but gross.”
Foster said the feedback from participants and their parents was so overwhelmingly positive that a fourth daily session was added to the schedule to help girls experience even more aspects of technical education.
“We knew we were on to something when before we even finished the event last year there was buzz about next year’s program,” Foster said.
She said some parents were calling her in advance to know the 2012 dates so they could plan family vacations around it.
“The … program fills a need as career and technical education is becoming more limited in the K-12 environment, and there is an increasing need for technical training to be prepared for tomorrow’s workforce,” said Kelly Murtaugh, vice president of academic and student affairs at the college. “TXT provides an avenue for girls to learn about technical fields and provides another option for future education.”
That option is a two-year degree in a wide range of programs, such as photography, information technology and industrial trades.
“I am proud of what we created,” Foster said. “It provides girls an opportunity to explore a variety of career fields that they might not even know existed or had exposure to before our event.”
One parent thanked the organizers for making the program available to her daughter.
“She had a great time,” the parent said. “She would have loved to have been there an additional week because so many of the classes were right up her alley.”
Another parent said: “My overall impression is that this is truly an enjoyable, educational and self-directing opportunity for my daughter in her future career opportunity.”
Foster said she is very excited that the program seemed to create conversations with teens and their parents about what they are learning when often the responses are shrugs or one-word answers.
“This program essentially sent the message that these girls can do anything they choose,” the parent said. “That is very powerful.”
For more information about the Dakota County Technical College Teens eXperiencing Technical Education workshops, go online to www.dctc.edu/go/txt or call (651) 423-8439.