Women in Construction Week celebrates, promotes women in the growing industry

Women in Construction Week celebrates, promotes women in the fast-growing industry
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 7:39 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - March is Women’s History Month, which celebrates the vital role of women in American History. It’s only fitting that Women in Construction (WIC) Week takes place every year during the first full week in March.

The local Wilmington Cape Fear Chapter of The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) was just established over the summer, and the group will be celebrating its first WIC Week March 6-12.

WIC Week chair Taylor King said all the events are open to everyone, and the more people that get involved the better.

“I think it’s important to let everybody know, especially young women like high school, middle school,” King said about informing the public about all the opportunities in the industry. “There are so many opportunities for women to get involved in construction — no matter which way they feel pulled — whether it’s interior design or they want to get their hands more dirty and be a project manager actually on site walking the jobs with the trades.”

The whole point of WIC Week is to celebrate women in construction, of course, but also to encourage more women to take the bold step to venture into the industry.

It’s one that is predominantly filled with men. While women represent an enormous potential workforce, they only make up about 11% of the construction industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the industry is brimming with opportunities, from tradeswomen to project managers to administrative positions to business ownership.

King owns her own company called Seaside Punch List. They essentially go in and put the finishing touches on new construction jobs. She said she is surrounded by women daily.

“Some of them are in HVAC, some of them own painting companies, some of them own plumbing companies, some of the own insurance companies, which in turn touch all of the trades that are going into these houses,” King said. “Interior design — new construction needs that — an architect, the actual builder, I mean, going and getting your general contractor’s license — there are so many opportunities.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s one of the fastest-growing industries with a projected growth rate of 10%. It’s expected to add 400,000 new jobs from 2020 to 2030.

Demand for labor is outpacing supply, so there is currently a shortage of workers. As the construction industry looks for solutions to its growing workforce shortage issues, recruiting women seems to be the most viable answer, especially here in the exploding Cape Fear Region.

“We’re building just so quickly that what we previously had as our labor pool — we need that tripled,” King said. “The building doesn’t seem like it’s stopping right now between multi-family and single-family homes and just commercial spaces — it’s crazy, so, yes, we are actively looking for more people.”

The national theme for this year’s WIC Week is “Envision Equity,” which seeks to raise awareness of the wide range of roles for women to enjoy in the industry, according to the National Association of Women in Construction’s website.

Those jobs and opportunities also have great earning potential, according to King.

“Starting point, just like with any other job, you can start around $40,000 dollars and then work your way well into six figures. Which you can go to school for six years and still barely make six figures and have that much student loan debt to pay off,” she said. “If you go to a trade school and you can get started, you don’t have as much student loan debt and you can quickly start advancing in your career.”

WIC Week kicks off on March 6th when a billboard will go up with all the week’s sponsors. On Monday, the Wilmington Cape Fear Chapter of NAWIC will go around to local businesses and hang posters to spread the word.

On Tuesday, there will be a Round Table Discussion hosted by the Wilmington Business Journal that will include eight local female entrepreneurs in the industry. That will take place from 4 p.m.- 5 p.m. in the Parlor Room at Aloft Wilmington at Coastline Center. A networking social will follow from 5 p.m.- 7 p.m. at aView Rooftop Bistro. Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo will be in attendance to sign off on the group’s proclamation at 5:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, there will be a food drive at The Brewer’s Kettle in conjunction with Poor Piggy’s Food Truck. That takes place from 5 p.m.- 7 p.m.

On Friday, NAWIC Cape Fear will host an appreciation dinner and fundraiser at Aloft Wilmington at Coastline Center. A portion of the proceeds will be going to Cape Fear Community College Scholarship Grant for emerging women in the construction field. The event is open to the public, but you must buy a ticket to attend.

On Saturday, the group will volunteer at Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry.

Click on this link to register for Friday’s dinner and find out more details about all of the WIC Week events.

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