Archive November 2022

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Building Community: Women in Construction Make an Impact

NAWIC women build communities, not only through their professional work but also as volunteers. Here are a few ways our chapters offer opportunities for women in construction to give back in their hometowns.
Building opportunities
Some volunteer opportunities draw on the professional skills of NAWIC members. Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Days, which encourages women to learn how to build a home for a family in need, is a particular favorite of many NAWIC chapters, as are other Habitat projects.
For members of the Salem, OR Chapter, the Santiam Canyon Rebuild Coalition Shed Build in 2021 was another building opportunity. To help property owners recovering from devastating Oregon wildfires that occurred in 2020, 250 sheds were built to hold food, belongings, and equipment while the owners living in trailers and RVs rebuilt their homes.
Women helping women
NAWIC chapters help women in the community with projects such as:
  • collecting gift cards, food, and hygiene items for women’s shelters,
  • providing care packages for service women deployed overseas,
  • supporting programs to help women heal from abuse and exploitation,
  • and sharing their experiences as women in construction for career programs. 
Focus on children
  • Besides NAWIC chapter events like the Block Kids building competition and Camp NAWIC, members often volunteer their time at children’s events such as STEM programs and career days. Other ways NAWIC chapters have volunteered to help children include:
  • collecting diapers and donations to help families in need,
  • holding a construction book drive for a local children’s home,
  • and hosting events like golf tournaments to benefit the NAWIC Founders Scholarship Fund
Combating hunger
No one should go hungry. That’s why NAWIC chapters often volunteer at local food banks and other organizations that serve food-insecure community members.
Helping pets in need
From donating items like blankets to a local dog rescue organization or building dog houses for local shelters, NAWIC members love volunteering for pets.
Women in Construction (WIC) Week
Many of our chapters use Women in Construction (WIC) Week as a way to give back to their communities. The 2023 WIC Week, which takes place March 5-11, 2023, is the 25th anniversary of the event and will be bigger and better than ever. Follow NAWIC National and your local chapter on social media to stay updated on WIC Week 2023.

More ways NAWIC members give back
You can find NAWIC members serving as firefighters and on town committees. They volunteer at events like benefit walk/runs and Toys for Tots. About 48% of respondents to our recent member survey belong to other organizations, such as scouts, Special Olympics, and other construction organizations. With more than 115 chapters and over 5,000 members in the United States, NAWIC members are making a difference.
The National Association of Women in Construction is the leading women’s construction association, providing community, mentorship, networking, leadership opportunities, and education for its members. Our members represent all levels and all areas of the construction industry, including the trades, project management, administrative, and allied fields such as finance, legal, and insurance.

Best Construction Jobs for Women

It seems that everyone is hiring these days. Even though women make up about 10-15% of the building industry’s workforce, construction jobs for women offer some of the best career opportunities. With a low gender pay gap, a broad range of occupations, and a hot job market, female construction workers are discovering new paths to success.
Gender pay gap, a growing industry, and a hot job market
What makes a construction job a good opportunity? On average women in construction earn 94.3% compared to men, one of the lowest gender pay gaps. Across all industries, women earn only 81% as much as men.  Although the construction industry is male-dominated, female construction workers are paid as much as men. And construction wages are rising.

Job availability is another reason construction jobs are good opportunities for women. Industry growth and a workforce shortage following the COVID-19 pandemic have caused an increase in the number of construction jobs available. A changing attitude towards women in the industry means more women are being hired, too. There are now more than a million women in construction roles.
The variety of construction jobs for women
The construction industry encompasses a wide range of occupations and allied professions. More than labor and skilled trades jobs, construction jobs for women also include project management, estimating, marketing, administration, and executive leadership, and careers in related fields, such as finance, insurance, and law. Here are just a few:
  • Plumber
  • Electrician
  • Carpenter
  • Welder
  • Bulldozer Operator
  • Heavy Equipment Operator
  • Construction Site Supervisor
  • Estimator
  • Virtual Design & Construction Technician
  • Project Manager
  • Sourcing Specialist
  • Director of Safety and Compliance
  • Marketing Specialist
  • HR Representative
  • Project Accountant 
Training opportunities
There are many paths to get started in the industry. On-the-job training is offered for many construction jobs. Women seeking work in the skilled trades may complete a trade program or an apprenticeship. Certification programs are another way to advance your construction career. The NAWIC Education Foundation offers instruction for professional certifications, including Construction Bookkeeping Technician (CBT), Construction Document Technician (CDT), Construction Industry Specialist (CIS), Construction Industry Technician (CIT), Estimating and Scheduling Practitioner (ESP). For those interested in construction management, colleges and universities across the country offer American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) accredited degree programs (Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s.)
Top jobs
According to the US News and World Report Best Construction Jobs of 2022, the top 3 construction jobs are Construction Manager, Electrician, and Solar Photovoltaic Installer.
  • Construction Manager Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish. Median salary in 2021 was $98,890 per year. A Bachelor’s degree is generally required. The number of construction manager jobs is expected to grow by 8% in the next decade. [US Bureau of Labor Statistics]
  • Electrician Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems. Median salary in 2021 was $60,040 per year. A high school diploma or equivalent and an apprenticeship are required. The number of electrician jobs is expected to grow by 7% in the next decade. [US Bureau of Labor Statistics] 
  • Solar Photovoltaic Installer Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers assemble, set up, and maintain rooftop or other systems that convert sunlight into energy. Median salary in 2021 was $47,670 per year. A high school diploma or equivalent and on-the-job training are typically required. The number of solar photovoltaic installer jobs is expected to grow by 27% in the next decade. [US Bureau of Labor Statistics]

The National Association of Women in Construction is the leading women’s construction association with more than 115 chapters in the United States and affiliate organizations worldwide. To support the growing number of women in construction, NAWIC provides community, mentorship, networking, leadership opportunities, and education for its members. Career resources include the latest construction job openings and professional development courses and workshops.

Jennifer Morales

When you think of construction workers, chances are you picture a carpenter or electrician or even a heavy equipment operator. But the largest percentage of women in construction are in professional or management roles. As Commercial Underwriting Consultant for Intact Surety, Jennifer Morales focuses on developing marketing plans and strategies for Intact’s transactional surety business.
Her path to construction began when she was a young girl. For an elementary school career day, she told her father that she wanted to bring an uncle instead, because he was a teacher who helped the community.  Her father, a commercial HVAC contractor, explained that his job helped the community by keeping businesses operational. 
“I was invited the next day to join him at work. That day left an indelible impression on me and inspired me to learn about different careers in construction,” Jennifer said.
 A short-term temp job as an A/P Billing Clerk for an HVAC contractor led to Jennifer wanting to learn more about the insurance and bonding aspect of commercial construction. 
 “I had the privilege of wonderful mentors who encouraged the creativity of a new insurance underwriter. Now, I try to pay that support forward,” she added.
Today at Intact, Jennifer enjoys “coaching and mentoring newer employees, cultivating new business partnerships, nurturing existing producer relationships, and developing creative opportunities for our mutual clients.” Knowing that an employee she mentored has been promoted is one of her greatest work accomplishments.
Intact Surety strives to create an environment where employees can achieve their full potential. Since women make up 57% of the company’s US employees, initiatives that benefit women in construction include an annual pay equity study, inclusive leadership training, a volunteer-run national women’s employee support network (Power of Women), and company benefits and programs that promote work/life balance and offer flexibility.
“The largest return of investment is in your team and the future workforce,” Jennifer said. “A more inclusive environment will help address the workforce shortage as well as build a sustainable pipeline of talent for the upcoming generations.”
“NAWIC has been instrumental in my career and skills-set progression. I can count on 5k+ members to help me if I need guidance in an area that I am unfamiliar with,” she said. “During the past five years, I learned how to advocate for myself, lead diverse teams, elevate my individual branding amongst other industry peers, become confident in public speaking, strengthen my time management skills, create a budget/expense report for a new committee, and how to serve in a director capacity for a 501 (c)(6) organization.”
A committed member of the Greater Orlando Chapter #73 since 2017, Jennifer has served in leadership roles in the chapter, including Attendance Chair 2018-2019, Student Outreach Chair 2019-2020, and Director 2018-2020, and for NAWIC as Co-Chair of the National Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee 2020-2021 and Executive Chair of the National DE&I Committee 2021-22.
On finding your own path
“Take the time to explore the vast opportunities within construction,” Jennifer said. “It is a multi-faceted industry offering many career options with incredible opportunities for advancement and self-fulfillment.”
Just as her father showed her there are many ways to help your community, Jennifer’s experiences in construction demonstrate there are many paths for women to succeed in construction.

What is yours?

If you know of a NAWIC member that deserves to be recognized as a Best Person for the Job, contact us today!