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A Rich History: Women in the Trades

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 26, 2021 11:19:32 AM / by Construct Your Future posted in building trades, careers, Women in the trades, women in trades

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When you think of the building trades, you think of men, plain and simple. But did you know that women actually have a long history in the trades and labor movement?

The earliest records go back to the 13th century in Spain, but women were likely involved in building long before then. Though historically, women often haven’t gotten the fame or the glory for much of the work they’ve done, women have proven time and time again, century after century, that work in the building trades is far from “man’s work.”

For example, did you know that we can thank a woman, Emily Warren Roebling, for the Brooklyn Bridge? Her father in-law designed the bridge, and her husband took over as the chief engineer on the job after his father passed away. That is, until he himself fell very ill and became bedridden. Dedicated to seeing the project to completion, Emily first served as a liaison, relaying information between her husband and his assistants on-site. But over time, Emily took over the majority of the project management, day-to-day supervision, and became unofficially known as the chief engineer of the project. In 1883, after 14 years of construction, 10 of them with Emily at the helm, Emily Warren Roebling was the first person to cross the bridge and is hailed as the first woman engineer.

And of course, we all know and love Rosie the Riveter of the World War II era, who made a HUGE impact on a generation of women in the workforce. Such an impact, that in less than 5 years, women rose from 27% to 37% of the workforce thanks to the government’s campaign. These women were the pioneers for women in the skilled trades, and they did much more than rivet - they served as electricians, welders, engine repair mechanics, manufacturers, and much more - and they did it well. They took great pride in their work and played an undeniable role in the war effort. Without these women’s gumption, our country, economy, and our current workforce would have suffered considerably. They helped to pave the way.

Sadly, after the war was over many women returned to their pre-war lives, and their presence in the trades waned over time. Today, women comprise only 10.3 percent of the construction workforce in the US. Women are clearly an untapped resource for the skilled trades. The benefits of having more women in the workforce are undeniable, and the skilled trades want and need more women.

Ladies, the skilled trades need you! The career opportunities are bountiful, the work is rewarding, and the sky is truly the limit in terms of opportunities. Did you know that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly income of a union construction worker substantially exceeds sixteen out of the twenty most common occupations for women? Amazing!

While it may not be widely talked about or celebrated, women have a rich history in the trades, and it’s only just beginning. We applaud the women who have forged paths for the women of today, and we invite you to #ChoosetoChallenge the notion that the building trades are best suited for men.

Want to learn more about a rewarding career in the trades? Find out how to get started.

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The Trades Offer Great Career Opportunities for Women

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 17, 2021 1:50:48 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in construction jobs, careers, career opportunities, Women in the trades, women in trades

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It’s true that when you picture a construction site, you probably don’t picture a sea full of women. But just because it’s a traditionally male-dominated industry, doesn’t mean that there aren’t more and more women joining the skilled trades workforce, and for good reason!

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Celebrating Black History in the Trades

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 25, 2021 12:38:23 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in trades, career opportunities

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Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month, began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It’s celebrated all over the world, but here in the United States, Black History Month highlights the struggles and celebrates the contributions of African Americans from all walks of life.

Did you know that some of the prominent African Americans in our country were key members of the labor movement? Take A. Philip Randolph, born in 1889, who was head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and Vice-President of the AFL-CIO's Executive Council. He represented the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in a dispute against the Pullman Company. He was instrumental in convincing President Roosevelt to sign an executive order, in June 1941, which called for an end to discrimination in defense plant jobs. Mr. Randolph chose the labor movement because, “"(t)he labor movement traditionally has been the only haven for the dispossessed, the despised, the neglected, the downtrodden and the poor." As Vice-President of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council, he worked tirelessly to end discrimination from within the ranks of the union.

More recently, take Madison Burnett. Mr. Burnett is Training Director at the Electrical JATC (Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee) of Southern Nevada. After graduating from Delgado College in New Orleans, Mr. Burnett applied and was accepted into the electrical apprenticeship in 1984 and thus began his journey in the trade. Following his completion of the program in 1994, Madison worked as a journeyman wireman, a foreman, an instructor, and Assistant Training Director before taking his current position as Training Director in 2004.

Mr. Burnett’s dedication to the electrical industry has afforded him the opportunity to serve on the Nevada State Apprenticeship Council, Governor’s Workforce Development Board for the State of Nevada, International Code Council, Southern Nevada Apprenticeship Programs Association and the Advisory Committee with the electrical training Alliance.

As Black History Month comes to a close, we salute the African-American men and women who have strived, suffered, achieved and won. We’re proud that many of them call the labor movement home, and we are ever grateful for their contributions.

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Find a Life That You Love with a Career in the Trades

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 12, 2021 1:37:34 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in building trades, construction industry, trades, construction jobs, careers, career opportunities

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What is it like to be a trades worker? First things first, in the construction trades, we work hard to make things that are real. When someone asks us what we do, we say, “I’m a sheet metal worker,” or “I’m an electrical worker.” We never have to say, “I’m an associate marketing coordinator reporting to the assistant vice president of sales.” We make bridges, stadiums, houses, roads, machines, things that are real, things that last.

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What Does an Electrical Worker Do?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 27, 2021 4:09:53 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in electric utilities, electrician, electrical industry

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A world without electricity is hard to imagine. Electricity keeps our world running and moving forward, providing essential infrastructure to power our homes, businesses, schools and factories. We’d have none of this without the meaningful work done by electrical workers!

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New Beginnings: Why You Should Consider A Career in the Construction Trades

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 11, 2021 10:30:00 AM / by Construct Your Future posted in building trades, trades, skilled labor shortage, construction jobs, careers, career opportunities

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2020 was quite a year. While it has been trying for all of us, it’s also forced good and needed reflection on what we really value, and what we want from life moving forward, both personally and professionally. Coupled with a new year and the new resolutions that come with it, 2021 is sure to be a year of progress, change, and growth.

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Are Construction Workers Essential Workers?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 5, 2021 12:19:40 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in construction industry, construction jobs, construction outlook, careers, United States Construction, career opportunities, construction workers, COVID-19

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Construction trades have always been essential, long before the words pandemic, COVID, quarantine, and coronavirus were part of everyday life. Construction is the lifeblood of our nation’s progress and welfare, providing infrastructure and services that are critical to all aspects of our everyday lives. So when asked “Are Construction Workers Essential Workers?” the answer is a resounding and multifaceted YES!

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Safety is Front and Center in a Registered Apprenticeship Program

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 18, 2020 12:08:13 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in construction industry, Construct Your Future, registered apprenticeship program, job safety, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Safety Stand Down Week

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For the men and women who work in construction, the most important goal is to go home safe at the end of each shift.

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History of Labor Day Led to Registered Apprenticeship Programs

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 4, 2020 12:47:01 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in construction industry, Construct Your Future, registered apprenticeship program, Labor Day

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Every year in September, the men and women who built this country and fought for better conditions and protections on behalf of all workers are remembered and celebrated.

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Apprentices Keep Learning On-the-Job During COVID-19

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 6, 2020 11:54:05 AM / by Construct Your Future posted in construction industry, Construct Your Future, registered apprenticeship program, job safety, COVID-19

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As the coronavirus pandemic forced the United States and the rest of the world's educational systems to switch much of its learning online, construction industry apprentices were able to adapt much quicker because a major component of their learning was unchanged. 

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