High school juniors seek to build careers in male-dominated industry

Zoey Ratoon and Rosa Brown may one day represent the face of change in the construction industry.

Right now, though, the high school juniors are learning the fine art of construction and masonry at Capital Region BOCES.

The two are among 87 students enrolled in the Building Trades program at the Career & Technical Education Center this school year and are among several women students in the program.

“It’s not an issue at all. The guys here treat us like anyone else,” said Brown, who attends the program from Sharon Springs Central School District.

Rotoon, a Cobleskill-Richmondville High School student, concurred. 

“I hope it’s that way when we get out in the real world,” she added.

Currently, just 10.9% of the construction industry’s workforce identify as women and an even smaller percentage of women–just 1%–are on the front lines of a job site, according to a 2022 article published by BizRent.com.

But these facts haven’t deterred Capital Region BOCES students interested in building careers in those industries. 

October is national Careers in Construction Month and throughout the month Capital Region BOCES – in conjunction with its business and higher education partners – is highlighting the multitude of careers and opportunities that exist in the industry and the students and graduates who are part of the industry.

Ratoon said she likes the industry “because it is interactive and hands-on.”

“I can’t sit at a desk all day,” she said, while mixing mortar.

Brown added that she appreciates the opportunity to learn “skills that will benefit us when we get into the workforce.”

“I am not bored when I come here; there is always something to do,” she said.

Capital Region BOCES Managing Program Coordinator-Business & Community Partnerships Nancy Liddle praised the pair.

“Zoey is a hard worker that is always willing to learn and do more and Rosa is eager to learn and enjoys building trades as she likes building things,” Liddle said.