Talent and Economic Development
National Association of Women in Construction, state find common need to raise awareness on the opportunities available to women in the construction industry
TED CONTACT: Erica Quealy, 517-582-2961
NAWIC NCR CONTACT: Rita Brown, 248-417-0830
March 8, 2019
LANSING, Mich.— To drive home Gov. Whitmer’s call to lower the gender parity and skills gap, the Talent and Economic Development (Ted) Department of Michigan teamed up with National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to highlight high-demand, high-wage Professional Trade career opportunities in Michigan during Women in Construction Week, March 3-9, 2019.
The National Association of Women in Construction, founded nationally in 1953 by 16 women construction pioneers, to enhance the success of women in the construction field and highlight women as a valuable asset to the construction industry.
Women account for roughly 9% of the construction industry, a virtually untapped source of high-demand, good-paying jobs for women – and Women in Construction Week helps the state elevate those opportunities. And yet, despite being a male-dominated industry, the gender pay gap is much narrower in construction, women in the U.S. average 81.1% of what men make, compared to 95.7% in construction fields.
“Whether they’re starting out as a finish carpenter, or working their way up to a construction foreman, we want young girls and women to know that they have a place in the Professional Trades,” said Ted Acting Director Stephanie Beckhorn. “And we hope that other influencers will join us in encouraging women to explore these viable career paths.”
Women in Construction Week also provides an avenue for the thousands of NAWIC members across the country and internationally to raise awareness about the career prospects available for women.
“Women working in the industry, in the skilled trades, is only 3% – what better way to educate women that construction is a viable career than through NAWIC,” says Dove Sifers-Putman, CBT, the president of NAWIC. “NAWIC is an organization of women for women. It builds leaders by offering education, leadership and professional development at the chapter, regional and national level to all women in the construction industry."
Specifically, the four local NAWIC Michigan chapters have an opportunity to promote the jobs available here in the state. Construction jobs in Michigan are expected to grow 10.6% through 2026, or 16,430 additional openings, according to the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.
“NAWIC Detroit is a professional association that aspires to build on women’s strengths and remind the construction industry that women can and do fill the roles they need,” said Rita Brown, director of the NAWIC North Central Region and construction business owner. “And reinforces the influence of already established career women.”
To emphasiize the growing need for women in construction, and expose them to unique, economically desirable career paths available in the construction fields, Rita created Project Accelerate, a program of which NAWIC Detroit and a number of industry entities are a foundation partner. This free seven-week program partners with local colleges and businesses to give women an overview and hands-on experience exploring the many viable career areas in construction. The program provides a resource to the needed networks and mentors, women in construction find essential to their success.
“The future of our industry depends on our ability to collaboratively engage and leverage resources,” said Brown. “NAWIC is a vibrant community of women who understand that with our own hard work, preparedness, and authenticity we can secure a stable future for our families. Adapting to the challenges and transforming them into success, we all move forward.”
Highlighting the state’s vast pipeline of opportunities is a focus of the statewide Going PRO campaign, which aims to attract talent to Professional Trades careers, including filling the 811,000 jobs coming open through 2024.
In addition to the boots on the ground Professional Trades jobs, the construction industry needs women in the science, technology, engineering, arts and math fields, or STEAM, to consider high-demand construction jobs such as architects, electrical engineers, construction managers or environmental engineers. STEAM careers help solve the real-world problems businesses need to support their bottom line, allowing for innovation to stay competitive.
For more information on NAWIC and how to become a member or participate in an event, visit NAWIC.org to find a chapter near you.
Women looking to find their high-wage career in construction or other Professional Trades can get started at Going-PRO.com.