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New OU Scholarship to Encourage More Women in Construction

New OU Scholarship to Encourage More Women in Construction

February 15, 2024

A new endowed scholarship created by Oklahoma homebuilder Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods will support students who study construction and interior design at the University of Oklahoma (OU).

According to the National Association of Women in Construction and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women currently represent only 10.9% of the workforce in the construction industry. However, there has been a significant increase of 32% in the number of women in construction over the past five years, marking the highest growth rate in two decades stated in Buildertrend and the Institute for Women's Policy Research. 

Greg Rex, vice president of construction for Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods, recognized that only 14% of the students are women in the construction science program at the University of Oklahoma. Rex actively recruits students from the program for internships at Ideal and feels compelled to increase opportunities for students including supporting women in the industry.

"While it is uncommon for women to assume builder or trade roles in the field, they often contribute to areas like accounting, design and marketing within construction companies," Rex explained. "I would like to see the day when women play a more balanced role in the field and on the job site. We need to keep building awareness around this subject and continue to do things that support students in the field of construction, such as creating a scholarship dedicated to their success."

Rex presented the idea of an endowed scholarship to the Ideal management team who agreed with the importance of supporting higher education along with the need for encouraging women’s representation in the construction industry. Rex then approached Mackenzie Christian, a builder at Ideal with the plan of funding a scholarship through the construction of a new Ideal home. Christian, who was already working on a home building project with Erin Yarbrough, director of marketing for Ideal, immediately embraced the opportunity to be a part of this meaningful initiative.

"I am incredibly thankful I could pursue my passion and become a builder,” Christian said. “It was not only available but encouraged.”

"Mackenzie and I are both passionate about creating more opportunities for women in construction," Yarbrough expressed. 

About Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods: Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods is a leading homebuilder in Oklahoma, committed to providing high-quality, energy-efficient homes in vibrant communities. With over three decades of experience, Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods is dedicated to building homes that meet the needs of customers while promoting sustainability and community development. Ideal is dedicated to giving back to the community and consistently donates 10% of its profits to support various charitable causes.