Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Visited The House That She Built

On Monday, May 16, 2022, Amy Franko, our Board Chair of Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, was asked to speak at The House That She Built Event hosted by Hamilton Parker. 

“We wanted to tell the stories of women who are involved with every aspect of the home building industry.”

Kristi Allen, Build Owner of Wood Castle Homes

Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, but they are drastically underrepresented in many fields like STEM, in-demand jobs, and leadership roles. The House That She Built aligns with Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Dream Big Transformational Initiative and mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We hope to achieve this by building the STEM Leadership Center & Maker Space which will help funnel more girls into the STEM workforce pipeline, eliminating the disparities. 

“Our vision has remained the same for over 110 years —to redefine what is possible for girls everywhere. And I feel confident saying it here today. I think that’s something we all can get behind.”

Amy Franko, Board Chair of Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland

The House That She Built is an organization whose mission is to support women in the workforce and develop initiatives by generating awareness of the skilled trades in large, underrepresented communities.

The heart of their organization is to address the Labor Shortage Crisis by providing a long-term sustainable solution to the national labor shortage by:

  1. Changing career-based bias perceptions.
  2. Shifting the mindset of others within the traditional industry. 
  3. Redefining the negative or stereotypical images of specific jobs. 
  4. Recruiting future women workers through underrepresented communities. 
  5. Challenging the disparities of representation in the workforce. 

This movement provides a platform for women (and all people) in the trade industry (in classrooms, Girl Scouts, etc.) to encourage children to identify with workers as real people and encourage them to pursue a career in construction and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics). 

“We want women to have the feeling of belonging in the home building industry. Being a home builder is an amazing place for women to be.”

Kristi Allen, Build Owner of Wood Castle Homes

Female representation matters in leadership roles because women hold only 18% of STEM leadership roles. And less than a third of female students choose to study higher education courses in subjects like math and engineering. These statistics give us a clear understanding that there is a severe need for more robust STEM programming to help girls learn about the jobs of the future.

Our efforts now with that of The House That She Built will champion girls by getting them curious about the different branches of STEM and encourage them to pursue those in-demand jobs. 

Girl Scout Alumni Kristi Allen created the House That She Built. This third-generation home builder, contractor, and Build Owner of Wood Castle Homes thought of an impactful project where she could show unity among women in construction and display the talents of an all-female home building crew. 

Due to the disparities in construction, it proved difficult to find women construction workers for the building project. However, that didn’t stop Kristi and her team. 

This challenging project was comprised of a group of 100 dynamic female construction workers (some being former Girl Scouts) from across the country, and it quickly made history. Later, it inspired a book showcasing different careers responsible for building the home. The book focuses on empowering children to later pursue jobs that were once historically for men. 

The new, family-sized, unique home equipped with a finished basement, reading loft, and a brick playhouse showed what women could do when they work together.  

Girls from the community were taught to lay brick to build the playhouse and were asked to sign each brick as a tribute to their hard work. The House That She Built used the brick wall as a dedication piece for inspiring young girls that they can do anything. 

“I’ve learned so many things from Girl Scouts. It’s exciting to see how the program has grown—something that had never been done in history, an all-women construction crew.”

KRISTI Allen, Build Owner of Wood Castle Homes

STEM professions are expected to grow 9% from 2019 to 2029, compared to just 3.4% for other occupations. And with the news of Intel coming to the Columbus Region, we are sure the number will grow even more. In addition, Girl Scouts of the USA pledged to put 2.5 million girls in the STEM pipeline by 2025. It’s an ambitious goal, achieving it won’t be easy. However, it’s the work that we do now that counts. 

We have a similar goal and mission to that of The House That She Built. The activities our girls participate in fall into four key pillars: the outdoors, life skills, entrepreneurship, and STEM. It is essential for our girls to be interested, curious, and empowered to enter the STEM workforce. 

There has been a lot done between our organizations to inspire women and older girls to study and work in these fields. Our work together proves this. But there are still systemic barriers that inhibit women from attaining leadership roles.

Through our combined efforts, we could achieve so much more, shattering the ceiling of the workforce and paving a new path for inclusion, diversity, and equality in STEM, creating future female leaders in the industry.  We can continue dreaming big for girls’ futures with the House That She Built. 

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