By Samantha DeAlmeida
Growing up, parents tell their little girls they can be anything they want to be and the future is limitless in terms of jobs and opportunities. Never before has this been more accurate, including choosing a career in the rewarding field of construction.
When planning for their future, young women — and their parents — should look to the construction industry for lucrative and exciting careers. While traditionally a male-dominated field, the amount of women working in construction is greater than it’s been in 20 years, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. And importantly, more women are being promoted to leadership roles and owning their own businesses.
Young women are choosing construction careers for a variety of important reasons. First, women bring a different perspective than their male counterparts that is highly valued by employers in the trades. They tend to be fantastic problem solvers, team players, and detail-oriented workers, which is well-suited for managing a job site. Additionally, many women enjoy having a direct impact on their communities and seeing a project come to fruition. Construction also offers the opportunity to start a well-paying career without the cost of a college degree and massive student loan debt.
According to the 2022 Levelset Women in Construction report, the top reasons women said they liked working in construction include: pride in creating physical buildings, being creative and solving problems, helping customers and clients, flexible work schedules, fast-paced and ever-changing work, and the people they get to work with. And an overwhelming 80 percent of women surveyed said they loved their job!
It’s time to kill the outdated perception that construction jobs are all about manual labor and women are not strong enough to do them. Modern technology and innovation have changed the nature of construction work. There is a huge diversity of rewarding roles in the construction industry, ranging from project managers to planners, to operators and engineers, design managers, and executive roles. And the demand for trade work continues to grow. In fact, there are millions of jobs for high-skilled trade positions but too few workers who can fill them.
So, where can a young woman interested in construction get started? The Associated Builders and Contractors of New Jersey launched its Apprenticeship Training program two years ago to help young people start their careers in the industry. Our program provides paid, on-the-job training, and classroom based theoretical education in 15 skilled craft trades. Working alongside local schools and businesses, we provide pre-apprenticeship construction readiness training and can help prospective apprentices get hired with one of more than 1,100 of our member companies. Our apprentices earn while they learn, pursuing an education while working full-time on the path to a successful lifetime career.
Apprentices benefit from on-the-job learning from an experienced mentor, combined with education courses to support work-based learning. Registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, all programs comply with strict federal and state requirements for formal apprenticeship and prevailing wage work. Upon successful completion, craft workers are eligible to be recognized at the journey level in their trade and receive a certificate of completion.
Parents, don’t be discouraged if your daughter chooses a hard hat over a tiara. Trade work provides high salaries, fulfilling careers, and the opportunity to run one’s own business. For young women in construction, the sky is truly the limit.
For more information about ABC-NJ’s Apprenticeship training please visit www.abcnj.org/apprenticeship.