In a traditionally male-dominated field, the numbers are starting to show a changing trend. Women represent only 9 percent of the construction jobs within the industry, according to the United States Department of Labor. But by next year that number is expected to double to more than 25 percent. WIC (Women in Construction) Week, sponsored by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), provides an occasion for firms to raise awareness of the growing impact women have on the industry, as well as the myriad of opportunities available to them, either in the field or in the office. Read on for a round up of some of the stories highlighting Women in Construction Week around the country and how local groups are building greater awareness:
Out of Dallas Ft. Worth, NBC News reported in their nightly news report that Turner Construction Company is providing a pathway to help diversify the workforce with Brenda Premenko leading a crew of 62 as the SPD Operations Manager. Premenko commented, “We want to let other women know that there are opportunities here. You can grow and be successful. Hopefully what I’ve done and have been able to do in my career will inspire someone else and other females to get more exposed to this industry and continue down this path.”
Builtcast: Women In Construction Week Panel Discussion 2019 by Reid Bangert | Mar 3, 2019 – features stories of five women in the construction industry as Justine Bangert hosts a panel of leaders in construction from the Midwest, specifically from the Des Moines chapter of NAWIC.
Construction Dive’s By the Numbers: Women in Construction by Kim Slowery | March 6, 2019 – While statistics still put women in construction at less than 10%, “the news isn’t all doom and gloom for the future of women in the trades. There are stories that have recently popped up about more young women entering apprenticeships and other training programs, a group that could grow the currently dismal statistics if organizers can draw and maintain enough interest.” More and more apprentice type programs are becoming available on local levels making the construction industry a more viable and attractive one for women.
Out of West Michigan, several news sources featured Erin Caszatt, president of the Grand Rapids chapter for the National Association of Women in Construction, at a luncheon Wednesday to promote the idea of women in construction. Outside of her duties of President, she is a structural steel detailer for Soils and Structures in Muskegon, where she takes designs from engineers and architects, and combines them to determine exactly how much steel a project will require, and how to cut it. Despite the challenges of working in a male-dominated industry, Erin believes, “as a culture, we’ve moved a lot further ahead in the last 20 years, but there is a lot more room to grow beyond stereotypes.”
From KVRR Local News in Fargo, North Dakota, local leaders gathered alongside the Fargo–Moorhead chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to celebrate Women in Construction Week. The Mayors from Fargo and West Fargo even issued proclamations honoring the week. Some say there are more chances than ever for women to carve their own career paths in construction.
The NAWIC LA Chapter is having a busy week with a breakfast, a luncheon, and a fundraising event to benefit “DIY Girls and Girls in STEM,” an organization providing after-school and summer programs that provide hands-on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) experiences for girls and for the NAWIC LA’s “Girls in STEM Scholarship Fund.”
NAWIC Chapters all of the country offer special programs to help introduce women to the construction industry. Some of these include “Construction Career Camps” targeted to high school girls during the summer. For more information, find your local chapter on the NAWIC Website.
Given the importance of this topic, METALCON 2018 featured an all-women expert roofing panel―a mix of manufacturers and contractors, to discuss the importance of gender and generational diversity in the business, how to create a better balance in the industry, and the values of emotional intelligence, strong communication and collaboration needed to grow a sustainable and robust business. Based on the success of the program, look for the topic to be featured again at METALCON 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 16-18.
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