Number Of Women Working In Construction Trades Jumps 17.6% In 2018
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The number of women working in the Construction Trades increased by 17.6 percent between 2017 and 2018 in the United States, rising to well over a quarter of a million women, according to a new analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR).
That jump equates to the highest share of Tradeswomen working in the industry in 20 years and it’s nearly five times faster than the 3.7% growth in construction occupations overall.
While the numbers are trending in the right direction, women still remain strongly underrepresented in the Trades.
Fewer than one in 20 (3.4%) Construction Trades Workers were women in 2018.
“In 2019, women’s stark underrepresentation in these well-paid jobs is disconcerting, but it is very encouraging to see such strong growth in the number of women entering the Construction Trades,” said Ariane Hegewisch, IWPR Employment and Earnings Program Director.
In St. Louis, Building and Construction Trades Council Secretary-Treasurer John Stiffler called the results of the new study “fantastic” news.
While the number of women in the Building Trades is difficult to track in the St. Louis area, he said there definitely has been an uptick in the number of women joining the Trades: “Our Building Trades Unions are all making a concerted effort to recruit more women and minorities. We’re beginning to look more like the communities we serve and have seen growth through the roof in the number of women and minorities joining the Trades. It’s a tremendous opportunity for the St. Louis area.”
Hegewisch said the industry still has more work to do to attract and retain Tradeswomen and to create a work environment that is welcoming to all Workers, regardless of their gender race or ethnicity: “Women-focused Pre-Apprenticeship Programs and Tradeswomen Organizations are doing great work to help the industry adapt to a changing future.”
St. Louis is a shining example of the some of the great work being done to recruit, retain and mentor women in the Building Trades with the Building Union Diversity (BUD) Program and Missouri Women in Trades.
The BUD Program was launched in 2014 as a recruitment tool to get more minorities and women into the Building Trades. It’s a partnership between the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council, the Eastern Missouri Laborers District Council and the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council, with funding from the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) and the Missouri Division of Workforce Development.
Local Unions open their Training Centers for Pre-Apprentices enrolled in the five- to eight-week program to give them basic training and a feel for each of the Trades.
The United Way and Metro provide participants with transportation and assistance and with other needs that may be preventing them from getting or keeping a job.
At the end of the program, participants take part in a graduation ceremony.
Since its inception, 173 have completed the program, said BUD Program Director Russ Signorino.
Of that number, 40 (23%) have been women.
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