When describing this group of women, Alice Ashley said, "We were women with electricity in our veins, cement dust on our shoes, sawdust on our minds … busy, busy, busy, filthy things. " In the first year of its existence, Women in Construction raised over $2,700 to donate to the Foundation for Visually Handicapped Children. They wanted to branch out beyond Fort Worth in search of other women to join the organization, but they discovered the charter was not adequate and did not have the powers to organize other chapters. Women in Construction of Fort Worth amended their charter to incorporate other chapters in Texas and throughout the nation. In doing so, on May 17, 1955, they became The National Association of Women in Construction. The Atlanta chapter was chartered in 1961, with Lettie Nixon installed as our Charter President.
Advancements were made over the years with the inception of The NAWIC Image in 1969, the official publication detailing Association news. In honor of the founding members, The NAWIC Founders Scholarship Foundation (NFSF) was created in 1961 to award scholarships to students pursuing construction-related studies. The NAWIC Education Foundation (NEF), founded in 1972, developed programs to enrich the minds of children as well as adults.
As word of NAWIC spread, several foreign countries became interested in the cause to enhance the success of women in the construction industry. In 1996, NAWIC signed an International Affiliation Agreement with NAWIC-Australia. In 1998, NAWIC signed an International Affiliation Agreement with New Zealand and another in 1999 with South African Women in Construction (SAWiC). In September 2003, NAWIC signed an international affiliation agreement with the United Kingdom.
Over 50 years later, there are now over 50 members in our Atlanta chapter and NAWIC has spread throughout Georgia into Sugarloaf and Columbus too. We are an active chapter- several members of our chapter have served on the NAWIC Board as either an officer or NAWIC Director. We feel honored to have had their expertise and example of leadership.
Throughout NAWIC's growth, the cause of NAWIC has stayed the same: To enhance the success of women in the construction industry. NAWIC has many education opportunities: For children - to explore and open their minds to the possibilities construction offers as a career choice; For Adults - to further their careers with certification courses. For more than 30 years, NEF has offered creative and educational programs for students from grade school to high school and adult certification programs. The Foundation's award-winning Block-Kids program, Building Design Program and the CAD/Design/Drafting Scholarship Awards competitions introduce students to careers and opportunities in construction. NEF offers four adult continuing education certification courses which are administered through Clemson University; Certified Construction Associate (CCA), Construction Document Specialist (CDS), Construction Bookkeeping Technician (CBT), and Construction Industry Technician (CIT). Since its founding, the NAWIC Founders' Scholarship Foundation (NFSF) and NAWIC chapters nationwide have awarded more than $4 million in scholarships to students pursuing construction-related studies.
NAWIC has developed nationally recognized awards programs to celebrate the achievements of women in the industry, as well as supporters of women in the industry. The national campaign for Women in Construction Week is held the first full week of March each year and provides opportunities to celebrate women in construction and to educate the public of their cause. The NAWIC Image, the national bi-monthly magazine showcases the efforts, causes and issues of NAWIC members and the construction industry. NAWIC provides education, networking, legislative awareness, industry and community involvement, personal growth and development and lasting friendships. NAWIC is the voice of women in construction.