Culture & Engagement in the Skilled Trades

Women possess qualities and abilities necessary in the Skilled Trades

We all know that women are more inclined to have patience and attention to detail when putting something together, ensuring they have all the necessary parts, tools and supplies and to thoroughly read through manuals beforehand. Technological advances have increased the number of jobs in the skilled trades that don't require excessive strength; and, let's be honest, there are plenty of women who are stronger and in better physical shape than a lot of the men currently working in the trades.

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Women possess qualities and abilities that are necessary in the trades, including creative thinking and problem-solving, a keen eye and a steady hand, dexterity, stamina, coordination and balance. Let's not forget that women stepped in during World War II and performed the jobs done by the men who were fighting overseas. They welded, built machinery and buildings, and operated heavy equipment.

While there has been progress, we still need more focus on creating interest and opportunities for women in the skilled trades. Organizations that need skilled tradespeople must step up.

A diverse workforce provides innovative and creative perspectives, which are an asset to any industry and are essential for organizational growth. Employers cannot afford to under-utilize or overlook any segment of the talent pool. Women represent nearly 50 percent of the workforce. A career in the trades may not be for everyone, but everyone should have the same options and opportunities.


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Construction Company Rolls Out First Inclusive 'At Work' Signs
Click to read more from the New York Post.




Skills Gap

Generating Interest in the Skilled Trades among Younger Generations

There is a lot of talk about younger generations and how they differ from other previous generations in their approach to work. It turns out they are actually not that different from any other generation. They want to continually learn, give input and receive constructive feedback. They are looking to add value, make an impact and understand how their individual work fits into the bigger picture.

Youth Apprenticeship Programs

More organizations need to participate in Youth Apprenticeship Programs that are available in their area. These can generate interest and offer young women and men career options that they may not have previously thought about. These programs prepare them and give them the foundation, training and support they need. Students who enter these programs are looking for careers that are hands-on, where they can best utilize the knowledge and skills that they will learn.

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Opportunities to Grow and Develop

The trades offer opportunities for growth and development as workers go from apprentice to journeyperson to master level. The skilled trades now utilize cutting-edge machinery, equipment and tools that require strong technological skills.

Earn While they Learn

The trades offer scholarships and a great school-to work transition because the job site comes to life in the classroom where students get the chance to gain proficiency in their chosen field. Everyone succeeds when working in a collaborative environment where people learn from each other and share ideas about how to do things more efficiently and effectively.



Construction: A Booming Industry - A Shortage of Workers

Definitely a good news/bad news situation. Your team is integral to maintaining good client relationships and successfully completing projects. Having a dependable team from beginning to end of a project is crucial. Losing team members in the middle of a project can damage those client relationships and cause complications for the rest of the team.

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USA Today reported that Home Depot will donate $50 million to train 20,000 people as construction workers over the next decade, helping efforts to ease a dire shortage that's curtailing home building and driving up house prices. The Home Builders Institute, the industry's education arm, will use the money from the Home Depot Foundation to train veterans and U.S. Army soldiers who will soon be returning to civilian life, high school students and disadvantaged youth.

Lowe's announced a pilot program to give $2,500 to employees in Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Denver and Richmond, Virginia who are interested in taking an online construction course to possibly switch careers.

Liz Skidmore, co-founder of Policy Group on Tradeswomen's Issues, said "For so many reasons, it is self-destructive for the industry to ignore the female half of the workforce. Fostering female interest is only part of the equation. Having developers and general contractors who demand a diverse workforce is what is finally moving the needle and connecting more women in the trades with construction jobs."

As a way to educate and increase female interest in the construction industry, Miron Construction in Neenah, Wisconsin hosts an annual "Build Like a Girl" event for local 7th through 12th grade female students. This event offers attendees a full day of hands-on experiences as well as an in-depth look at opportunities within the construction industry. For the majority of the day, girls work within small groups led by Miron staff at a temporary job site. Students get hands-on experiences in the fields of masonry, carpentry, concrete, and equipment operation. They also go on a tour of a live construction site.

In construction, and every other industry, open job positions are increasing and becoming more difficult to fill. More organizations need to provide training opportunities and get involved with promoting interest in the construction industry. Those that are working to develop and maintain a positive workplace culture will be the ones that will stand out and attract and keep the best people. Knowing what is working within your culture and what is not is more important than ever.