In honor of Women in Construction week, The Morse Group held a Girls That Build event for local high school girls to learn more about opportunities available in the electrical industry. The morning kicked off with a discussion about the current state of women in the construction field and different types of positions available within the electrical industry such as project manager/assistant project manager, CAD technician, BIM technician, electrical engineer, electrician, purchasing, and other support positions. Lead by four experienced women from The Morse Group team, the girls learned about job duties for different positions and the skills needed to be successful. They also learned about the different educational paths available to enter the electrical industry from certifications and apprenticeship programs to 2-year and 4-year degrees.  Lastly, participants had the opportunity to hear a real-world success story from one of our Panel Electricians, Heather, who is currently attending classes at Blackhawk Technical College for Automation Systems Technology.

The discussion position was followed by a tour of our Panel Shop where the participants could see different control panels in various stages of production. Next, it was time for some hands-on activities! Participants were able to try their hand at common work completed in the field by electricians including hand bending conduit, panel wiring, and wire pulling.

Conduit Bending:

At the conduit bending station, participants learned what conduit is used for and saw real world installations where the conduit required hand bending in the field to allow it to be installed around objects or openings. Then they used a hand bender to make a 90-degree elbow in ½” conduit, used a level to verify it was a true 90, and learned how to correct it if it was off. Next, they learned how to read the markings on the bender to make other bends, like a 45-degree bend, when the installation called for a slight angle adjustment.

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Panel Wiring:

At the panel wiring station, participants learned how to read prints and determine what components were needed to assemble the panel and their different functions. They learned how to number each wire so, once installed, it coincides with the print and can be easily identified later on down the road.  They also learned about hot wires vs. neutral wires (and how to distinguish the two), as well as the importance of grounding. Next they tried their hand at installing a wire into the correct terminal.

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Wire Pulling:

The wire pulling station utilized the same panel as the panel wiring station and demonstrated how it would be installed in a real world setting to complete a task. In this case, the panel controlled a horn and flashing light. To complete this station, participants used vacuum suction to pull a string through bent conduit, over a door way and down to a junction box that would support the stack light and horn. Next, they connected the wires for the stacklight to one end of the string and pulled them through the conduit. Once the wires were pulled through, they stripped each one and landed it on the correct terminal in both the panel and on the base of the stacklight as indicated on the one-line drawing. Once this was complete, the panel was hooked up to a power supply making the horn sound and light flash at the other end.

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In total, 22 girls from four area high schools attended the event and had a fun morning learning about the electrical industry! Special thanks to BJ Electric and Leeding Services for their generous donations that helped make this event possible!