EL RENO – Cassandra Rosas is pretty sure if she pricked her finger, she would bleed sawdust.
Rosas, 17, and a junior at El Reno High School, enrolled in the Construction Trades program at Canadian Valley Technology Center with one goal in mind. She wants to own a construction business one day.
So far, so good, she said.
“At first, it was nerve-racking,” she said. “Somehow, I didn’t feel like I deserved to be here. It was my first time being in a class full of males. It felt off for a while. Now, I am like the little sister, and everybody treats me great. I am really excited to be here.”
Rosas said most of the men in her own family are in trades of some kind.
“They either do roofing, plumbing or electrical,” she said. “That’s why I want to have a career in construction, so I can not only work with them but be around my family.
“I want my own business in it. I am very creative. I do a lot of painting, so I can see that part of me involved in construction somehow. I kind of want to get my hands dirty. I don’t want to sit down and do nothing.”
Rosas said she is aware of the overwhelming number of males in the construction industry, but she said she will be at least one to swing the pendulum the other direction.
Males comprise 96.5 percent of construction laborers, according to information supplied by the U.S. Department of Labor. Still, there is plenty of room for growth within the construction industry, according to information supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predict faster than average growth of 12 percent through the next seven years.
“I am confident I can do the work, and I love it so far,” she said.
Rosas is one of just a handful of females in the afternoon Construction Trades class. Currently, students are learning expert cabinetry skills, including expert tips on tongue and groove, raised panel cabinet doors.
She has already qualified for the regional cabinet making contest, which will be Feb. 20 at Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City.
Instructor Brian Deason said she is doing well.
“She finished second in our cabinet contest, so I have big hopes for her placing at regionals and going to state, even though this is her first year in the program,” Deason said.
Rosas said she is making friends and has grown comfortable in her shop surroundings.
“Now that I have been here for a while, I am used to it,” she said. “You learn quickly and can appreciate that everybody treats you like a friend.”