By Sloane Martin, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Construction trades have historically been an non-traditional career path for girls and women. But an event Saturday in Minneapolis is trying to break down stereotypes.

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Almost two dozen girls in middle school and 9th grade took part in a workshop at Dunwoody College of Technology, showing them carpentry, tile setting, pipefitting, electrical and painting — all taught by tradeswomen who work in the field.

“Having tradeswomen leading them in these activities, the girls leave thinking, ‘OK, I can do anything that men can do. I can do this. I see a woman teaching me, she’s doing it, she has the skills and ability,'” YWCA Girls Inc. program director Christa Perkins said. “It’s really empowering for our girls.”

Through a collaboration between the YWCA Minneapolis and Construction Careers Foundation, the girls built tile mosaics using leftover materials from U.S. Bank Stadium, and they constructed easels on which to hang them.

The focus is fostering a desire for post-secondary education and to open doors to a new career path, because for some children, college is not the only option for a viable and sustainable career.

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“The way we want to expose them to these careers is to have them is to work with a tradeswoman side-by-side, hands-on and create a project that they did themselves and that they can bring home and look at and be proud of the work that they did,” said Vicki Sandberg with the CCF. “By offering a hands-on trades exploration for them, it opens up a whole new career in construction that they probably didn’t know about before.”

Asha, 14, said her favorite part was seeing how her project came out. She also enjoyed the environment.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“It’s good because you have people to look up to,” she said. “Instead of having men do all the work, you see women can do things that men can do at the same time.”

Even if it is not in their future plans for a career, creating something unique in a supportive environment is worth it.

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“One of the things I think the girls are getting from working side-by-side with the tradeswomen is how proud they are of their work,” Sandberg said. “They really see the self-esteem of the tradeswomen, they see how proud they are and I think that’s contagious.”