Tucson teens put construction skills to the test in regional competition

female student at construction competition

 Photo by Ron Medvescek / Arizona Daily Star

Cassidy Camp may only be 18, but for the last two years she’s been busy planning her future.

Inspired by her dad, who is a contractor, Camp hopes to own a general construction business someday.

The Tanque Verde High School senior has been involved in precision manufacturing — welding and metal work — and construction technology classes since her sophomore year of high school.

On Friday, Camp joined students from 10 high schools across Southern Arizona in the SkillsUSA regional competition to showcase their skills in a variety of construction trades.

Despite the 132 teens competing, there is a shortage of young people taking an interest and developing skills in these professions, said Chuck Gallagher, the SkillsUSA competition organizer for Southern Arizona Region 6.

The competition put students’ skills to the test in categories including solo carpentry, electrical, masonry, plumbing, construction tech duo-teams, and a team build that includes participants from all crafts.

“Girls have a tendency to win, and there are not many of them,” Gallagher said, adding that girls often exhibit more attention to detail and are more willing to ask for help.

According to the United States Department of Labor, as of 2010, women make up only about 9 percent of construction workers.

There is a general need for people to go into these jobs, but specifically there is a need for girls.

Camp worked in a two-person team to build a two-seat bench, divided in the middle by a small coffee table. She worked fiercely and calmly as she measured and cut lumber for her project.

“The guys try to intimidate me, but I just push them away,” Camp said.

Camp said she enjoys the hands-on nature of construction, but her favorite part is seeing a customer’s face when a project is completed.



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