SPOKANE, Wash. -- Women who graduated from the Head Start to Construction Trades program are busting down barriers, building solid careers and forging paths for other women.
Some of Melissa Halvorson's fondest memories with her kids were on the Looff Carousel at Riverfront Park. During that time, she could not have imagined she would ever be a part of the carousel's renovation. She is thinking differently now that she has landed a full-time job with Drywall Specialties, Inc.
"For the last couple of months, I've been very busy and it's great," Halvorson said.
For the past few month Halvorson has been a drywall taper at several construction sites around the area, including the Looff Carousel. It is just the beginning of her career in construction. She jump started her career in The Head Start to the Construction Trades program or HCT. She and six other women were part of a local effort to get more women in hard hats.
Right now, women only make up about nine percent of the country's construction work force. That is a number Halvorson and her fellow HCT grad Cassandra Duncan want to see grow. Duncan was also hired on as a drywall taper. She said she is making more money, has a more flexible schedule and has more time to spend with her three boys.
"Honestly aside from my kids it's one of my proudest moments in my life, and I know my mom and my family they are so proud to see me graduate from something like this,” Duncan said.
"I can still work full time and come home and cook dinner and spend time with my children and make a decent wonderful wage," said Halvorson.
That is really what it is about, building a future for themselves and their kids.