PGTI: The Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues is completing it’s 13th year. This year we published a book chapter on our founding and how our multi-stakeholder collaboration was able to triple the percent of women in the trades in Massachusetts. Read the story of how we did this together at Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues: A Collaborative Learning Community Crushing the Barriers to Women’s Careers in the Construction Trade. You can purchase the book, Organizing for Power- Building a Twenty-First -Century Labor Movement in Boston, here. Our brother at the Massachusetts Building Trades Council, Dan McNulty, added to our story with a paper he researched and wrote. Local tradeswomen leaders tell their stories of how the movement has been built in A Recent History of the Massachusetts Union Tradeswomen Movement V2.
We have reached many milestones in this past year including the increase in women in apprenticeship to 10.3%. And the absolute number of women in the trades in Massachusetts went up during the pandemic, a trend which undercuts the historic problem of women being laid off first.
Also during the pandemic, the number of women interested in the trades and attending Build A Life That Works’ Tradeswomen Tuesdays never dropped off. We now have over 800 qualified and interested women in the Build A Life pipeline to apprenticeship and work in the trades. This is consistent with reports that there are more women working in the trades than there were before COVID.
In addition to multi-stakeholder collaboration, PGTI’s success is built on the Integrated Supply and Demand Strategy which means that women get jobs. On our Targeted Projects, PGTI partners closely monitor to ensure that the numbers of women meet or exceed project targets and that women stay employed to gain the hours and the skills needed to stay in the industry. Massachusetts tradeswomen have worked on over $7 billion of targeted projects over the past decade and their percentage of the work hours is almost 8%, higher than the federal mandate and way higher than the national average. To ensure that even more women are getting work in the trades in the future, this year we launched PGTI’s Workforce Diversity in Public Construction Initiative. Working with the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the Inspector General, public builders all over the state are being made aware of the requirement for 6.9% women’s hours on all public construction in Massachusetts.
One of the most important developments in the past year has been the growth of BUTS, Boston Union Trades Sisters. With over 500 women on their Facebook page and dozens of women attending regular event, BUTS is providing tradeswomen with the support to survive apprenticeship and thrive in the industry. They are making the connections to the sisters, nieces, school friends and more that will continue to grow the pipeline for women in Massachusetts.
The PGTI meeting schedule is still every other month and rotating between the 10 am start time that is easier for us girls in the offices and 4pm start that makes it possible for the tradeswomen coming off site at the end of the day to participate. The day of the month has recently changed to accommodate conflicts with some union meetings.
PGTI now meets every other month on the second Wednesday. Here is the 2022 schedule:
February 9, 10 – noon August 10, 4 – 6pm
April 13, 4 – 6pm October 12, 10 – noon
June 8, 10 – noon December 14, 4 – 6pm
Please join us. We still start our meeting with the mantra we created 13 years ago.
We are in this together
There is no silver bullet
We will never never give up
Launching V.9 of “Finishing the Job: Best Practices for a Diverse Workforce in the Construction Industry”
Today we launch Version 9 of Finishing the Job, the PGTI manual of Best Practices for a Diverse Workforce in the Construction Industry.
The first version of Finishing the Job, was created in 2013. This was and continues to be a multi-stakeholder collaborative project to collect proven strategies for increasing both gender and race diversity in the construction workforce. The manual is organized as a set of checklists for industry stakeholders. These best practices have been tested and evaluated on PGTI’s Targeted Projects which, 11 years later, amount to almost $7 billion of construction across Massachusetts. On those Targeted Projects, women have exceeded the 45-year-old target of 6.9% women’s hours and, at 27%, workers of color, have had nearly double the share of work called for in the underwhelming state goal of 15.3% “minority hours.” A comparison with data from projects across the state where Finishing the Job is not being used shows how effective these Best Practices are.
The work of the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Centers and their partners across Massachusetts has increased the percent of women in union apprenticeship to 10.3%. This has been key to the successes on the PGTI Targeted Projects. The Targeted Projects are the “demand side” and the apprenticeship programs are the “supply side” of PGTI’s Integrated Supply and Demand Strategy. We think V.9’s new and improved “Checklist for Training and Apprenticeship Programs” will help the JATCs to go even faster and farther in diversifying their apprentice classes. Recent changes in federal apprenticeship regulations have strengthened the standards for greater diversity in apprenticeship. Working with those who helped revise those regulations, we have created an improved Training and Apprenticeship Checklist, one that we hope will be a model across the country, a tool that can assist Apprenticeship Programs in working towards the new federal goal of 35-40% women in construction apprenticeship. As always, we welcome your feedback and invite you to participate in future PGTI meetings where we will continue to innovate and improve Best Practices for a Diverse Construction Workforce.
This gallery contains 4 photos.
Since PGTI and the Building Trades Unions began partnering with staff in Massachusetts Vocational Technical High Schools to ensure greater access and support for young women in construction-related education programs, the percent of females in these programs has steadily increased. … Continue reading
The latest data on the participation of underrepresented groups in union registered apprenticeship shows continued progress in diversifying our union labor workforce.
From 2021 to date, the percentage of women in apprenticeship has increased steadily every year, with 10.30% women’s participation in union apprenticeship programs as of August 2021.
Women now comprise 10% of all union building trade apprentices in Massachusetts. This is among the highest figures in the country, tripling the national average and representing a two-fold increase since 2012.
“Reaching 10% women in apprenticeships is a huge accomplishment,” said Liz Skidmore, PGTI co-convener, and Business Representative and Organizer with the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters. “It represents amazing progress in increasing the supply of diverse tradespeople here in MA. Meeting this milestone right now, in the midst of the pandemic, shows that we not only recruited new women but also retained female apprentices during this incredibly challenging time.”
Across Massachusetts, women like Angela Lormeus, now an apprentice with Carpenters Local 339, started their apprenticeships in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. She cites Tradeswomen Tuesday as her jumping-off point to an exciting new career. Before joining the Carpenters union, Angela did not have much experience in the trades; her background was in early childhood education. She was interested in applying to the Carpenters apprenticeship, but not sure how to navigate the career shift. After learning more at a Tradeswomen Tuesday, Angela decided to go for it. She applied for, and was accepted into, the Carpenters apprenticeship program.
“I am grateful to be employed during COVID, and I hope to seize the opportunities sent my way to learn my trade and become a well-rounded Carpenter,” Angela said.
“We are exceedingly proud of the strides we have made towards gender equity in the workforce here in Boston,” said Brian Doherty of MetroBTC. “10% is a great start, but there is still work to do. The building trades that have provided for so many Boston families over the years should be accessible to all. We need to maximize the opportunities for women and people of color to start family-sustaining careers in the building trades.”