Women in Construction? Yes!

Why the building industry needs women to join

The Hartford Business Journal recently published an article about the challenges and opportunities facing the construction industry, and it hit home for us here in Quincy, IL:

Two realities of the construction industry are that it is a male-dominated field and it is facing a large skilled labor shortage. Facing additional problems from an aging workforce, many industries in the sector are looking to diversify their hiring, with many industry organizations mounting a "full-court press" to identify and train more women in the industry.

“I believe that as women become more aware of the opportunities that are there, the percentages are going to increase,’’ said Yolanda Rivera, who has spent the past 20 years filling Connecticut’s trades pipeline as director of construction-sector initiatives at Capital Workforce Partners (CWP) in Hartford.

“Women”, says Amy R. Blackwood, community engagement director for the CT AFL-CIO, “are a deep talent pool that could benefit the building-trades sector.”

“You’ve got a retiring workforce and an untapped workforce that’s never had an opportunity,’’ Blackwood said.

“Early engagement with girls and young women while they’re still in school about professional- and skilled-labor options in construction and building trades would enhance their diversity”, architect Laura Cruickshank said.

“More and consistent mentoring of women, as well as greater empathy for females in building trades who seek time away to bear children, would be bonuses”, she said.

With only a few notable exceptions, we have very few women in the construction industry in the Quincy area.  Yet we are certainly looking at an aging male workforce that will be taking their skills into retirement over the next 10 years.

As a company and an industry, we need to be open to giving opportunities to women who may be interested in painting, carpentry or other trades.  We also need help from the parents and educators of young women to let these girls know that there are rewarding and good-paying jobs to be had.

If you know a woman that would like to build things with her hands – let her know that the construction industry needs her!