Student-led ‘New Future for Females’ career fair draws 200 students to Girls at Work HQ

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MANCHESTER, NH – Rebecca Brown, Senior Project Manager at engineering and design firm GPI/Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. of Bedford, was all stocked up on mini-marshmallows in advance of last week’s two-day New Futures for Females career expo, held at Girls at Work Inc.

They weren’t for snacking – although, truth be told, some marshmallows did not make it to the project table.

Mainly, they were for a hands-on engineering exercise that also sounded like the perfect metaphor for the motivation behind the career fair.

“The activity we’re doing here today is for the girls to build their own bridges,” said Brown, explaining that the stronger the bridge constructed of marshmallows and toothpicks, the more candy it would hold. In this instance, the bridge-builders got to reap the candy rewards of their labor.

However, the true bridge builders of the day were Kaylee Richard and Sam Grenier, two high school students who have grown up with the Girls at Work program. Yes, it has taught them to be handy with power tools and expanded their thinking about what women’s work in this 21st-century world should look like.

But the program has also taught them how to lead by example, which ignited their mutual entrepreneurial spirits.

Last week’s event, which was held May 2 and 3 at the Girls at Work super-sized (and expanding) workshop, was an idea that originated last fall. Kaylee and Sam had attended a high school career fair during which they felt invisible to those touting careers in the trades, engineering and technology simply because of their gender.

After fuming about it for a minute, they readjusted their hard hats and hit the drawing board, developing a smaller version of last week’s fair that took place in December to test their theory that girls should be front and center at a job fair focused on equal opportunities.

More than 200 freshman and junior high school females from Manchester high schools, Kreiva Academy charter school and Goffstown high school were bussed over to the mill yard for the indoor-outdoor experience where they interacted with representatives from more than a dozen local businesses, including:

  • Advanced regenerative Manufacturing
  • Manchester Police Department
  • U.S. Army
  • Trader Joe’s
  • City Year
  • MPAL
  • Timberland
  • XMA
  • Decco
  • Twins Plumbing
  • Acadia Insurance
  • Revision Energy
  • TD Bank
  • Preston Excavation
  • Imagine Milling Technologies
  • Everrsource
  • Greenman Pedersen Inc.
  • Bosch Heating and Cooling


About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!