Women in Trades
According to a 2021 report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research which looked at the national picture, “in 2020, over 300,000 women—the largest number ever—worked in construction occupations, reflecting growth even during the COVID-19 pandemic. But women remain highly underrepresented in the trades, accounting for just 4% of all workers in construction occupations. Women’s low share of construction jobs represents failures to recruit and to retain those who are recruited.”
That number is comparable with other SKILLED TRADES when it comes to percent of women. We are focused on narrowing this skills gap.
The US Department of Labor Statistics reports that women are substantially underrepresented (relative to their share of total employment) in agriculture, mining, construction, manufacturing, and transportation and utilities. The jobs that are available and will become available are suffering a shortage and women can help fill those gaps.
Women have to see it to be it. The WSWHE BOCES Women In Trades Initiative is focused on narrowing the skills gap and encouraging young women to enter the trades, in particular traditionally male dominated fields such as automotive technology, auto body repair, construction trades, environmental conservation & forestry, heavy equipment operation, HVAC-R, industrial and performance machining, power sports technology and welding.
WSWHE BOCES has been providing fun and engaging hands-on activities that educate and inform female students about the earning potential, career opportunities and educational resources that are available to them.
“We recognize the value young women have in meeting the workforce demands or our region; and we are not alone. Through a collaborative effort with our component school districts and business partners, the WSWHE BOCES has put a focus on recruiting, retaining, and supporting young women in the trades. Our hope is to encourage young women to see themselves in non-traditional programs by creating opportunities for them to experience the trades with a fresh perspective,” says Jared Davis, Director of Career & Technical Education at WSWHE BOCES.
Regionally, 1.2% of automotive technicians and carpenters are women. Yet both industries' entry level hourly wage is above the Regional Living Wage Floor according to the Workforce Development Institute. With more experience individuals can earn $38-40 per hour, with no college degree required. Female HVAC technicians in our area comprise less than 1% of the industry.
“Our goal is to help young women find a path to a successful career, through the trades. We are uniquely positioned to help provide insight into the many opportunities that exist within the trades,” says Davis.
Report from the Women’s Policy Institute: A Future Worth Building: What Tradeswomen Say about the Change They Need in the Construction Industry