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.