Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco is excited to join the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) in celebrating Women in Construction (WIC) Week March 1st – 7th, 2020. The focus of WIC Week is to highlight women as a visible component of the construction industry. WIC Week raises awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry and emphasizes the growing role of women in the industry.
Kirsten Valentine works as a Site Supervisor Apprentice I for Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties. At 23 years old, she has worked for our team for 3 months now after being in the field for two years as a Certified CAD Technician for a structural engineering firm.
“My responsibilities include working on the sites daily with volunteers and teaching them how we build homes the Habitat way. Each day differs from framing walls, finishing interior trim, all the way to landscaping. On the sites you will find us working with a variety of tools as well as teaching our volunteers and future homeowners how to safely and properly use those tools.”
Women make up only 1% of the workforce in the construction and maintenance fields. Kirsten advises women who are considering entering the field, that “you CAN do it! Glass ceilings are meant to be shattered. Education is key, and you are never too old to learn something new.” Kirsten says that “at the times that I didn’t feel like I ‘fit in’, I reminded myself that I can do anything I set my mind to, and I can be whoever I want to be.”
One of her proudest moments in the industry has been at the Cambodia Habitat International Global Village trip. “Building homes for the Cambodian people in their villages out in the countryside, overcoming language barriers, and working hand in hand so far away from home was touching.”
“My proudest moment was seeing the children and playing with them, knowing that I was helping them build their first home. Gaining their trust and watching their eyes light up every day seeing their house come together was a pretty proud moment.”
Her second proudest moment has been working at Tellor Estates in Pinellas Park, Habitat’s largest development to date, and seeing each home that her team has put work into building.
“There is such a sense of community in working alongside your Habitat neighbors to help emerge a brand new neighborhood, a place they will get to call their own. It makes me so proud knowing that the time, effort, and all the learning that went on there will stick with everyone who was a part of our builds for the rest of their lives.”
Thank you, Kirsten, for being one of our awesome women in construction!