We often describe PGTI as a “learning community.” At our open meetings every other month (the next meeting is at 4 PM on December 20), a group of people who share the commitment to increasing and retaining women in the trades but who come from many different places in the construction industry, exchange knowledge and expertise from their area of work and generate new ideas for moving women forward in the industry. These ideas get integrated into our best practices document, Finishing the Job, and are incorporated into our Technical Assistance Workshops. A recent lesson has emerged from many discussions over time: Think Women First!
As industry stakeholders integrate new ideas into their business practices, too often women are part of a longer list of diversity requirements. When we begin with other categories such as “minority,” veteran or resident, the population that is targeted is usually male. By default, women become the last category. But women are veterans and residents and at least half of the women entering the industry in Massachusetts are women of color. When contractors and apprenticeship programs target women first, they are very likely to fulfill two or more categories of workforce requirements. In addition, of course, women are the most disadvantaged group in the construction trades. We are aware of only one project in the Commonwealth that has ever reached any federal, state or municipal target. The best practice for increasing and retaining women in the trades is think women first and put women at the top of the list. For outreach and recruitment, put women first. For hiring and referrals, put women first. And for layoffs, put women last.
A few of the nearly 100 tradeswomen working union on the Wynn Resort project in Everett #neverworkalone
Connecticut Building Trades launch pre-apprenticeship for women
The Connecticut Building Trades have launched the latest Building Pathways Pre-apprenticeship Program to bring more women into the trades. PGTI will be conducting diversity training for participants in August. Check out their FB page, Building Pathways CT to see their first cohort of students as they progress.
Summer Camps introduce girls to the trades
The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is hosting a Girls Construction Camp in Kansas City. Can we get this in Massachusetts?
Outreach to women in Boston’s neighborhoods
NCTE Pipeline Navigator Kate Harrison met this mother/daughter Laborers team, Letitia and Jasmine McNeill, while tabling at the Harmon Street Job Fair.
Our goal is 20% tradeswomen by 2020.
Follow us on social media spread the word with hashtags #tradeswomen #20percentby2020
Recently one of PGTI’s co-convenors, Liz Skidmore was interviewed for an article in BisNOw, a national real estate development journal. The article discusses progress PGTI and partners have made in the fight to recruit and retain womena nd people of color in the construction industry. It highlights the progress in construction apprentice programs in increasing both the number and the percent of female apprentices in Massachusetts. “Women in construction apprentice programs in Massachusetts leaped from 180 in 2012 (4.2% of all active apprentices) to 473 (6.9%) in 2016.”
PGTI’s work with the MA Gaming Commission and the UMass Building Authority are prime examples of public developers actually creating a diverse workforce for their construction projects. BisNow reported that the article was its top viewed piece the day it was posted, and continues to have very high readership (54,000 in the first four days). Read the full article here.
PGTI is a “multi-stakeholder collaboration.” In addition to the usual suspects working for equality and social justice (labor, community, and tradeswomen themselves), developers, general contractors and trade contractors join us every other month in the PGTI open meetings to explore strategies for crushing the barriers to women’s entry into the construction trades. A PGTI-moderated workshop at the 2nd Biennial New England Women’s Policy Conference , at UMass Boston on January 18, examined recent strategies for opening up good jobs in the construction trades for women, described the successes that have led to significant increases in women’s participation in the construction workforce and looked critically at the role of business in social change and the extent of the business sector’s commitment to radical alterations in business practices.
The workshop, “Getting Business on Board for Good Jobs for Women,” included panelists John Barros, Chief of Economic Development for the City of Boston; Marcy Reed, CEO of National Grid; Brian Doherty, General Agent of the Metro Boston Building Trades Council; Labor Management Consultant Gail Kinney; and Sue Mailman, President of Coghlin Electrical Contractors. PGTI Co-convener Susan Moir moderated.
The workshop can be viewed here.