A Message from the ABC Keystone Chair of the Board

By: Steve Conway, Pyramid Construction Services, LLC, A Quandel Company, ABC Keystone 2023 Chair of the Board

If you attended this year’s ABC Keystone Economic Breakfast, keynote speaker Anirban Basu spoke of the shortage of available workforce across the US in general and its direct impact on the construction industry. Workforce shortages aren’t new to the industry, and I believe many of us recognize we will continue to face this barrier for the foreseeable future.

Though many industries face similar shortages, construction seems to feel it more acutely, especially when recruiting females.

Currently, women make up only 10.9% of the construction industry. This number is inclusive of design professionals, managers, office staff and front line field workers, but only 1% of our skilled trades workers are women. So, while women make up 47% of the overall workforce in America, the construction industry is benefiting from only 1.25% of that talent. Like me, many members may not be surprised that women are underrepresented in the industry. Though it has been encouraging to see more women in key positions and on job sites over the years, the rate at which women are entering the industry isn’t rapid enough.

We have a perception problem in this industry. Traditionally, we have been male dominated. Likewise, our careers have been viewed as too labor intense, or dirty, unskilled, and unsafe, driving females away from the industry. We know that technological advancements and much- needed safety protocols, along with a more welcoming culture, mean it is no longer an industry of brute strength and machismo. We are an industry of opportunity regardless of gender.

So, what are we doing to make sure we increase the number of females in construction?

ABC Keystone continues to grow our network of middle schools, high schools, career and technical centers, and community partners in an effort to educate all populations about our industry and the need for new talent. We provide career awareness and exposure to our industry through Construction Wars and All ‘bout Construction (ABC) Girls Camp. This camp is held over a 4-day period (June 19-22), providing an opportunity for girls to explore careers in the industry, through hands on projects, problem solving activities, and exposure to industry professionals. The Camp is in its 3rd year, and will serve up to 30 girls this year, thanks to a grant from ABC National’s Trimmer Construction Education Fund.

Outside of ABC, PWC (Professional Women in Construction), ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) Mentorship Program and NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) are all working to promote careers in construction and support the initiative of expanding the demographic of our workforce.

What can you do?
Share your industry! Talk to your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and school board members.
Educate them on the lucrative career opportunities for their children or grandchildren.
There is no more rewarding career than one that has a hand in building America.

Steve Conway
Steve Conway,
Pyramid Construction Services, LLC,
A Quandel Company
2023 Chair of the Board
ABC Keystone sconway@pyramidconstruction.us
(717) 278-5582

Posted March 2, 2023