Catherine is an adult apprentice with Suburban Electric
in Appleton.

The number of women in the U.S. construction industry is on the rise. From apprentices to craft professionals, estimators and executives, women are represented in all facets of the construction workforce. And the opportunities to both join and grow within the booming construction industry are numerous, especially with a workforce shortage impacting the sector across the United States.

The construction industry offers an earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship model and values lifelong education, which allows for career advancement without incurring hefty student loan debt. Yet whether individuals have a high school diploma or completed secondary education, the barriers to entry are minimal.

Just yesterday, ABC of Wisconsin members testified before the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Workforce Development and emphasized how Youth Apprenticeship is a good way to attract females into construction. Yvette Woerischofer of Suburban Electric in Appleton told the committee her company has three youth apprentices who are juniors in high school and one of them is a girl. 

"It's one of those things we are super passionate about because we really feel like it not only benefits the students, it's also benefitting us as an employer." 

Youth apprenticeship offers both girls and boys the opportunity to try out a career in construction without making a life-altering decision. 

Construction is also not just a job, but a well-paying career with competitive salaries. According to the Wisconsin Technical College System, the annual median salary for all construction apprenticeship completers in 2015-16 was $76,624. In addition, the construction industry has a significantly lower gender pay gap compared to other professions. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that on average women make 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man, women make 93.5 cents to the dollar in the construction trades.

Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin is committed to recruiting and upskilling women in the construction industry to continue to grow a diverse and inclusive construction workforce and industry. To learn more about career opportunities, visit https://buildyourcareerwi.org/.