The Future of Women in Construction 


Calling all women who dream big, who envision themselves being part of something really important, and who know the meaning of hard work … the construction industry wants YOU!

Work in the construction industry is diverse, interesting and challenging, but historically has not drawn women to join its ranks. As of January 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics released preliminary data showing that of all employed women on nonfarm payrolls, construction ranked the lowest at just 12.8 percent. If that doesn’t seem particularly low, compare it to the more traditionally female occupations within the education and health services sector, which ranked highest at 77 percent. That’s quite a difference! We at Michigan Construction think it’s time for change. And that change is coming!

STEM - It’s for Girls Too

In the 21st century, more and more girls are being formally and intentionally exposed to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects in elementary and secondary school. Programs are being developed and implemented that open them up to so many possibilities — including in construction-related areas — that await them after graduation. These very-hands on programs immerse students in different disciplines, giving them a true taste of what each might be like as a career, piquing their interest and igniting their imaginations.

So, now we see that the stars are aligned for young women to take their STEM interests and skills and begin to convert them into construction careers. As we ramp up our first Michigan Construction MC Ready Going PRO Apprenticeship Readiness Program, we want to be a catalyst for the change we want to see. We recognize it takes special women to work in construction, just as it takes special women to teach our children, care for our sick, serve in our legislatures, and run our companies. We just want to make sure our industry gets its fair share of them!

A New Reality

Another change is the recognition that, in reality, not every high school graduate needs to get a four-year college degree. While this has always been true, for decades the push to get every graduate into college resulted in a shortage of skilled construction workers who can design, build, and improve our homes, our businesses and our infrastructure. More importantly, many high school graduates, who, for different reasons, did not pursue a college degree, have wasted precious years in dead-end, low-wage jobs when they could have been building their construction careers in apprenticeships and well-paying positions. And this applies to young men and young women alike.

Looking forward, the lesson has been learned and our industry is leading the charge to train and build a new, stronger and smarter construction workforce that is diverse and talented. Working with our industry partners, the State of Michigan, and other stakeholders, we will forge ahead and invite all young women with an interest in a construction career to explore the possibilities, connect with Michigan Construction’s partner companies and learn about jobs and programs for their future and the future of our state.

If you or someone you know has big dreams and is willing to work hard, contact Michigan Construction today and let the future begin!

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