N.E.W. Workshop Returns for a Successful Fourth Year
On Tuesday, October 18, 2022 the N.E.W. (Nontraditional Employment for Women) Workshop Fort Wayne returned for a fourth year, after a two-year pause due to COVID-19. Megan Crites and Megan Zwick of MKM, are active leaders in the success of this event, and have been since the foundation of the N.E.W. Workshop in 2017. "To introduce younger generations of women to new ideas and opportunities they would have never otherwise known about is why we exist. So many career fields are still male-dominated, which doesn't benefit any of us. It never has. Every field, every occupation, every company benefits from diversity and different perspectives. This is why N.E.W. is on a mission to empower and inspire young women through collaboration with female leaders in non-traditional jobs so they don't feel "stuck" taking a normal route after high school," shared Zwick.
This year's event was hosted by Homestead High School and included 280 sophomore women who had the opportunity to rotate through roundtable sessions in which 16 professional mentors shared how their career path developed, what a typical day is like, and any struggles they’ve encountered along the way. Students were able to select which career professionals they wanted to hear from, based on personal interests. A selected speaker Q&A and “try it” sessions provided students hands-on experience doing a task or gaining additional information about a wide range of professions. This year, mentors in architecture, construction, neighborhood planning, dog training, gas line workers, and a metallurgist from a local steel company were present.
Crites stated, "There's an old saying; you don't know what you don't know. And for us, part of why we provide this opportunity is related to awareness and in that there’s a twofold benefit with this outreach program. On one hand, there are students who are uncertain of what they want to do after high school and then you have the latter. So, we are providing students an opportunity to learn of additional career opportunities outside of what they may see on a day-to-day basis, and opening up a network and knowledge base of how they can pursue these careers. A focus on careers that are non-traditional for women raises awareness for our female students to increase their earning potential while lowering the threshold of breaking into those fields by showing the students tangible, living, breathing examples of others doing these jobs."
"Not even 24 hours after this year's N.E.W. Workshop at Homestead High School we received an email from a student asking to be connected with one of our volunteer mentors so she could ask how to get started pursuing a career in aviation. This is what N.E.W. is all about," shared Zwick.