No Limits: Female Middle Schoolers Explore Non-Traditional Careers at A. K. Smith Event
MICHIGAN CITY, IN – October 18, 2023 — The LaPorte County Career and Technical Education program hosted its annual N.E.W. Opportunities workshop on October 17, inviting middle school girls from seven LaPorte County middle schools to visit the A. K. Smith Career Center to check out career options that may not be on their radar.
The N.E.W. (Nontraditional Employment Workshop) Opportunities event introduced eighth-grade girls to a variety of jobs in which women have been traditionally under-represented – in fields such as law enforcement, construction, dentistry, architecture, HVAC, welding, finance, and more.
The workshop featured a keynote speaker, roundtable discussions with industry professionals, and a “try it” segment during which the students could explore hands-on elements of many of these professions.
Angie Nelson-Deuitch, President of Diversity Squared, was the keynote speaker for the event.
In high school, Nelson-Deuitch said, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in electrical engineering. The elective classes in Electronics that she took at the A. K. Smith Career Center gave her a solid foundation that served her well in college. “But if I knew then what I know today, I would not have as much college debt as I do now,” she told students. “Many of the trades and local companies such as Sullair will pay for your tuition.”
Nelson-Deuitch has made at least four career changes, working in engineering, management, and government affairs, and she is now the owner of her own consulting business. She urged girls to pursue post-secondary opportunities such as college or technical training, regardless of the field they would like to pursue. Internships, such as those she landed at Florida Power and Light, the Kennedy Space Center, and IBM, are also important. “Having a degree or certifications or both is a must,” she said. “It’s easier to pivot to different careers if you have a strong foundation, skills, and experience.”
Girls, she said, should consider all of the careers available to them – including those that are usually filled by males. At NIPSCO, for example, there were no females working on power lines during her tenure. “It’s not because we’re not capable, it’s because we are often pushed toward certain types of careers by others,” she said. “But the opportunities are vast. Don’t let anyone limit you or what you can do.”
Companies that took part in the N.E.W. workshop included Big C Lumber, Burns Funeral Home, Cooper & Cay, Edward Jones, the Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters, Michigan City Dental, LaPorte County YMCA, Lubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City Fire Department, Michigan City Police Department, Paniccia Heating & Cooling Inc., Pulse Technology, Reins of Life, Rieth-Riley Construction Co., Tonn and Blank Construction, Urschel Laboratories, Inc., and the U.S. Navy.More information about the La Porte County Career and Technical Education program is available by visiting www.EducateMC.net/CTE.