The construction worker is my mother: encouraging the Trail Blazers to pursue their dreams
Valerie Crafton, a mother who works in the construction industry and the author of ‘This construction worker is my mother’, exposure to construction began when she accompanied her father to his construction sites after the loss from his mother when he was 7 years old. She spent much of her childhood on construction sites, where she acquired a love of working with her hands. This influence and on-the-job learning continued through high school where she learned almost everything about building a house.
She was initially turned down by bigger companies, which prompted her to pursue a BS construction degree in industrial technology, construction management. She swore that not being taken seriously as a worker wouldn’t stop her from gaining experience, so she volunteered for Habitat for Humanity while continuing to raise her eldest daughter while throughout his college years.
Valerie Crafton received a special invitation to join the International Honor Society for Professions in Technology through the GAMMA THETA Chapter and was elected the first woman to serve as Construction Management Student Association President. She also received the Commander’s Award for her volunteer efforts to help military families by leading numerous fundraising events and building local Family Readiness Group (FRG) centers for the military community.
Valerie continues her work to find ways to give back to her community with her new book, This Construction Worker Is My Mother. She believes that by reading this book, other young people would be inspired to ignore society while making decisions about their future and not be afraid to go against the grain. Blaze THIS TRAIL, don’t look back and accept “NO” for an answer. We are the authors of our own stories and we own our destiny. Individuals must not give up no matter what!
“Fortunately, I had the tenacity to push back the voices telling me to do ‘a woman’s job’ and embrace my voice by asking, ‘What is a man’s job?’ she said in one of her interviews. Why can’t we imagine women in certain roles? Even my father, who exposed me to construction and taught me much of what he knew, used to say old fashioned that I needed a husband to take care of me. But I knew better, I assumed that women could have their independence, be good mothers, good wives and still do the work of construction workers. And having a husband was because I wanted one, not because I needed someone to be co-dependent on.
The book, That Construction Worker is My Mom, is about breaking the stereotype that certain jobs are only for certain types of people. Valerie tells the story of her experience as a woman navigating a male-dominated business, encouraging girls everywhere to follow their ambitions and not allow anyone to tell them they can’t do anything just because they don’t look like the typical person who would do this job. For a variety of reasons, as our society evolves towards a more technologically sophisticated lifestyle and a more diverse population, it is evident that ever more women are needed in underrepresented fields and functions.
The book encourages future pioneers not to be afraid to pursue their aspirations, even if society tells them otherwise.