Apprenticeships for Women in Construction

women in construction

In 2020, only 4% of skilled construction workers were women. Women in construction are seeking jobs that are considered nontraditional employment roles. And yes, there have been barriers to overcome.

There is one nonprofit – WINTER (Women In Non-Traditional Employment Roles) offering a free pre-apprenticeship program for women. The Apprenticeship Readiness Program tackles two of the problem areas for some women: physical strength and mental toughness.

Women in construction comprise 9% of federally registered apprenticeships. In addition to facing bias among reporters, “Women also frequently face sexual harassment and bullying on job sites,” says retired electrician Meg Vasey. It’s almost as if getting an apprenticeship is a “family secret” she continued.

Networking among friends and family likely leads to more apprenticeships than anything else – for men. And unlike most men, housing and childcare are concerns for women in construction.

New Commitment To Funding for Women in Construction

An apprenticeship is one of the many forms of construction craft training. In a construction apprenticeship program, apprentices learn skills and knowledge from experienced craft professionals. Examples of craft specializations that might be taught through an apprenticeship include carpentry, masonry, plumbing and welding.BYF.org

President Biden shared his infrastructure proposals in April 2021. In addition to focusing on highways, bridges, and transit systems, a proposed $48 million was earmarked for workforce development. Biden wants to create 1-2 million apprenticeship openings.

“That funding includes a special focus on creating new registered apprenticeship slots as well as support for pre-apprenticeship programs for women and people of color,” says Fortune.com “to ensure they are allowed an equal share of those opportunities.”

Meg Vasey says she sees more hope for women in construction than ever before.

The Change Begins With You

Women in construction add value to our industry. Mentoring is one way to encourage women and minorities to tackle apprenticeship programs. Possibly the most important thing you can do is to make high school students aware of their options. Presentations explaining “earn while you learn” will go a long way to creating interest in the construction industry.

The challenge to create construction employment opportunities is real. But if you don’t cultivate job opportunities, it’s a moot point. Building business leads using building permit information is what we do. Contact Construction Monitor for more information.

Women in Construction Making a Positive Difference

women in construction

There are 9.9 million men working in the construction industry. There are 1.1 million women in construction. In addition to the disparity of employment, there’s also a difference in the roles men and women in construction have.

Most men in construction have jobs in:

  • Construction labor
  • Extraction
  • Finance
  • Maintenance
  • Transportation

Women in construction are usually in administrative or office positions.

8 Women in Construction

The irony of the old jingle, “You’ve come a long way, baby” isn’t wasted on most women. Nobody should put “baby” in a corner or even in a corner office if she’d be happier and productive on a construction site.

These women in construction are making a positive difference that can raise the bar high enough to break the glass ceiling for others:

  1. Angela Cotie is a project executive at Gilbane Building Company and chairman of the board for Houston’s Architecture, Construction & Engineering mentoring program. She is also a founding member of AGC of Houston’s Women in Construction.
  2. Kaitlin Frank is a superintendent at Dome Construction in San Francisco. She develops training content for construction field workers and co-founded eMOD, a safety construction app.
  3. Karen Alba is team lead for a University Health System project in San Antonio, Texas. She leads networking programs for minority-owned businesses and mentors women on the jobsite.
  4. Kathleen Culhane is president of Nontraditional Employment for Women, a pre-apprenticeship union construction program. She’s increased New York City’s women in union construction apprenticeships to 12%.
  5. Kerri Smith is vice president of Baker Concrete Construction. AGC recently awarded her team the Eagle and Young Professionals Awards for a Miami cruise line terminal project. All team members on the project were under 35 years old.
  6. Lori Dunn-Guion is a project engineer and currently president of Swinerton Foundation, a nonprofit workforce development organization. She also is one of the founders of the Tony Williamson Memorial Scholarship for Cypress Mandela Training Center. The scholarship awards $1,200 plus a three-month training paid internship to individuals pursuing careers in construction.
  7. Meirav Oren is the founder of Versatile Natures, an Israeli-based company that uses sensors to collect construction project site data and information. Versatile was the first construction technology firm to be named Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.
  8. Wendy Ho mentors women in construction and she’s a key player on public-sector construction projects in New York City. She also manages public-sector construction projects for AKRF, an environmental engineering firm. Wendy currently leads a $1.45 billion project; the largest resiliency initiative in NYC’s history.

Getting women in construction out of the office should be a construction business’ goal. Diversity in leadership serves as an invaluable tool and it’s time for us to find ways to level the playing field.

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Women in Construction Add Value to Our Industry

women in construction

It’s an old phrase but it really puts the HIS in history: “The good old boy network” or “club” enabled White men to keep financial development opportunities within their network. Any woman or person of color that wanted to join the club quickly discovered membership was exclusive, not inclusive.

Let’s make a better historical legacy for all of us.

Mentoring Builds Future of Women in Construction

With the competition for talent becoming increasingly demanding, women in construction can be the solution to our industry’s skillset-shortage.

These women are making history today by providing mentoring and networking opportunities for women in construction:

  • Antonya Williams is executive vice president at McCarthy Building Companies. She has mentored women in construction throughout her career and has served on the leadership committee for the McCarthy Partnership for Women (MPFW) as well as New Pathways for Youth, a mentorship program in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Cindy Frank became a carpenter in 1979 when women in construction were an anomaly. Frank is organizing Sisters in the Brotherhood, a division within the carpenters’ Local 945 in Missouri of which she serves as president.
  • Ellen Ward is a human resource manager at Joeris General Contractors. She is co-chairing the Building Capacity program/African American Community Fund and working on the HEB Supplier Diversity Construction Council.
  • Kathryn Hart co-founded the Building Women in Construction student organization at Virginia Tech University. She is a superintendent at Trinity Group Construction.
  • Kim Roy mentors women at HITT Contracting of Virginia, where she created a training and development program that includes development in business etiquette, emotional intelligence, ethics, and financial planning.
  • Lizan Gilbert mentors women engineering students at University of Texas. She’s a founding member of Women In Tunneling, a segment of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration. She currently works as a preconstruction executive for Guy F. Atkinson.
  • Pam Hummel has served women in construction as a mentor and leader for over 15 years. She assisted in founding CFMA (Construction Financial Management Association) Diversity & Inclusion Task Force of Orange County, CA. Pam is an executive vice president of Briq.
  • Sonya Walton is the economic inclusion vice president of Messer Construction Co., OH. Over the years, she’s taken the company’s Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise program spend to $278 million by 2020.

Expand Programs: Include Skilled Women in Construction

It was 2016 when Construction Monitor noted the reduction of women in construction apprenticeship positions. We’ve seen a lot of improvement but the barriers that existed then are still in place today.

The change begins with you. Expand your current programs to include women in construction.

Is your marketing development hitting a wall? You can put technology to work for you. Building business leads begins with building permit information. Contact Construction Monitor for more information.

Women in Construction: Getting Out of The Office

women in construction

The total employment of women in construction is very low, 10.3% in 2020. And most of those jobs are front-office, not front-lines.

Of all the women employed in construction, 45% of them are in office or administrative roles. An average jobsite has one woman on-the-job for every 100 men. But 44% of the 100 top construction companies’ executives are women; that’s a good percentage.

Help Wanted: Women in Construction

Here’s to strong women.
May we know them. May we be them.

May we raise them. -Michelle Obama

Obstacles women face on the jobsite include:

  • Discrimination
  • Exclusion
  • Fewer management role models (other women) available
  • Fewer opportunities for advancement
  • Gender pay gaps
  • Greater risk for injury from poor-fitting safety equipment

The construction boom we’re anticipating will hit hard in 2022 with about two million new jobs predicted. We’ll face a shortage of skills like never before.

Smart companies will begin the push-to-hire now, if at all economically possible. And studies show that more diversity – women in construction – improves a company’s profitability by 25%.

Recruiting women is possible if you emphasize training programs and support mentorship. You might consider designing a construction boot camp for girls this summer.

Some of the organizations for women in construction include:

And many states have their own organizations for women in construction. Check the web to learn more.

Women in Construction Week March 7-13, 2021

Now Through Feb. 12, 2021, you can nominate yourself or a co-worker for Construction Dive’s recognition of top female leaders in construction. Categories include:

  • Industry veteran – More than 25 years in the construction industry
  • Mentor
  • Other
  • Rising star – Under the age of 30
  • Tradeswoman leader
  • Up-and-coming leader – Over the age of 30

Change Begins With You

Construction Monitor follows industry change so we can better support your company. You can study employment trends with Construction Monitor building permits’ analytics. Or you can develop sales leads and become the change we’re following.

Contact us today.