Self-Efficacy and Explore Nontraditional Careers Pre-Conference Workshop Resources

Program Improvement Process for Equity: Pre-Conference Workshop Resources

At Roseburg High School (Douglas Educational Service District), the equity gap analysis revealed that there were only four girls in the Welding Program, although there were excellent opportunities for jobs in the community. The team suspected that the root causes were (1) lack of knowledge of CTE programs and nontraditional occupations; (2) lack of role models and mentors; and (3) biases in the educational environment. Through student and teacher surveys with both middle and high school students, the team discovered that students felt they were being treated differentially, and through an equity audit it was revealed that all of the Welding Equipment was size Large. The strategies they implemented to address these issues and to increase the participation of girls in Welding were highly effective because they built on one another, and supported each other.
  1. Welding Instructor Buy-In. The team was able to engage the Welding instructor with their full support.
  2. Welding Equipment of All Sizes. Helmets, gloves, and jackets were purchased in all sizes (S, M, L, XL) so to fit all body types.
  3. Freshmen Cruise. Over a two-week period, first year high school students were exposed to all CTE programs without the option to opt-out, The four girls in the Welding Program demonstrated techniques and mentored other girls learning about Welding. This helped to increase those students’ self-efficacy and comfort with the equipment (Peer Role Models).
  4. Pride Night/Community Open House. All CTE programs were highlighted for students’ families and community members, and the four girls in the Welding Program were put front and center to demonstrate Welding techniques. This helped to normalize girls in the Welding Program.
  5. Professional learning focused on understanding the impact of educator implicit biases. Teams of educators engaged through professional learning communities in activities and lessons from NAPE’s Toolkits, including Explore Nontraditional Careers and Realizing Potential with Mindset. This increased awareness, understanding and action focused on mitigating how unexamined biases can create barriers to students’ access to and success in nontraditional programs of study.

The Results

Whereas in fall 2015, there were four girls in the Welding Program, following the implementation of the multi-pronged strategy outlined above38 girls enrolled in the Welding Program (an 800% increase)! Over the last two years, the school has been able to maintain that level of enrollment and commitment from female and male students. 

Kirkwood High School is a comprehensive high school in a densely-populated suburb in the Mid-Atlantic region.  The high school offers International Baccalaureate and Sports Science Academy magnet programs.  The school has approximately 1,600 students: 39.3% African American, 2.3% Asian, 6.2% Hispanic, 3.6% Multi-racial, and 49% White. More than half (57.6%) of students qualify for free/reduced-price meals and 20% of the students are served by an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Since at least SY 2010-11, no girls have ever enrolled in the Construction Trades – Carpentry program at the school.  For several years 100% of the students have been White; that changed in SY 2015-16 when 30% of the students enrolled (all male) were African American, a change anecdotally attributed to the new teacher and department chair, an African American man.

In the 2017-2018 academic year, the district engaged in NAPE’s Program Improvement Process for Equity™ (PIPE™) in order to address and close equity gaps in CTE pathways leading to high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand career pathways, including Carpentry/Construction Trades. The intervention below, which was implemented in late spring semester 2018, was the primary strategy employed by the team in order to interrupt the gender-based pattern of all-male Construction Trades – Carpentry program enrollment.


After the SY18-19 enrollment period ended in spring 2018, in collaboration with his regional supervisor, the Carpentry department chair coordinated a by-invitation-only pizza lunch-and-learn. The team asked technology education and science teachers to identify fifteen 9th and 10th grade female students who were A and B (grades) students.  The team invited the students (see, invitation, on back) and offered each student two “tickets” to the event: one for themselves and one for a friend.  A total of 31 girls attended the lunch, during which they met young women from across the construction industry.  The women came from diverse education and career pathways and were in a wide range of jobs, none of which were the stereotypical “swing a hammer” job. The team asked counselors to attend the lunch-and-learn to revise SY18-19 schedules for any students who wanted to add Carpentry directly following the program. After the 1.5-hour event, fifteen girls registered for Carpentry.

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