Media Campaign To Get More Women In Construction Launches In Boston
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In the race to reach a lofty goal for more women at construction sites around the State of Massachusetts, the state’s rapidly growing casino industry is ready to roll the dice.
There were 473 women in Massachusetts construction apprenticeship programs in 2016, representing 6.9% of the entire program. There is a statewide effort to boost that number to 20% by 2020, and a media campaign launched Thursday by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the Northeast Center for Tradeswomen’s Equity hopes to boost the message there are high-paying jobs waiting for women who want them.
"Strong collaboration is the only way we can ensure that we’re removing barriers that cause economic inequity throughout our city," Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said in a prepared statement. “In 2017, we set ambitious targets for the construction industry, and a campaign like ‘Build A Life That Works’ is a great way for the building trades to show they are committed to building a strong, more equitable city and state.”
Build A Life That Works is a program funded by $200K in grants from the MGC, Wynn Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and the Plainridge Park Casino’s parent company, Penn National Gaming. The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 103, the City of Boston and the City of Everett provided in-kind signage and electronic billboard donations.
The media campaign includes actual women in the building trades who have been able to buy a home, travel the world and get more quality time with their families thanks to their careers in construction.
The push comes as there is a concerted effort statewide to build a pipeline of more female talent in construction with education through such organizations as Building Pathways and The Policy Group on Tradeswomen's Issues. Consigli Construction Co. committed $20K in March to create the Women At Wentworth scholarship at Wentworth Institute of Technology.
"Women have historically been underrepresented in STEM careers, including engineering and construction, and we need to do better," Consigli President Matthew Consigli said. "We have a responsibility to expand and strengthen opportunities for women at all levels."
One union leader sees the need for more outreach and said getting women involved in apprentice programs is nothing new for his organization. Now is the time to grow female participation beyond established programs.
“If you look at the numbers and hours of apprentices, union trades account for 90% of all women in registered apprentice programs,” NERCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer Tom Flynn said. “This shouldn’t just be a union initiative. It should be an industry initiative. I’d encourage the nonunion sector to match the numbers we have now.”