West Michigan Works! observing Women in Construction Week with hiring event, resources

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women hold 14% of the 179,300 jobs in the Michigan construction industry, and the percentage of women with active registered apprenticeships is even lower at 11%. Courtesy West Michigan Works!

A local workforce development agency is hosting a virtual construction hiring event and offering other resources in celebration of National Women in Construction Week.

West Michigan Works! said it will observe Women in Construction Week next week with a virtual construction hiring event from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday and by publishing two educational videos highlighting the West Michigan construction industry.

Job seekers can register for 15-minute phone conversations with construction employers with immediate openings. Event registration is open until 5 p.m. Monday. The job fair is open to all job seekers.

With West Michigan projected employment growth of nearly 14% between 2016-26 and 555 annual job openings, construction laborers rank second on the West Michigan Works! Hot Jobs list. Many of the industry opportunities, such as landscape crew leader and roofer, require no formal education.

“With continued growth forecasted throughout our region over the next five years, now is an ideal time to explore a new career that requires no formal training or degree,” said Amy Lebednick, business solutions director, West Michigan Works! “Historically a male-dominated field, women have an equally viable employment role of the industry.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women hold 14% of the 179,300 jobs in the Michigan construction industry, and the percentage of women with active registered apprenticeships is even lower at 11%.

While the number of women working in the construction industry is increasing, more growth is needed. Shana Regnerus, an electrician at Bolt and Regnerus Electric, said a career in construction is about pursuing a personal passion.

“No matter what job you do, someone is going to tell you, ‘You can’t’ or that ‘It’s not a good idea.’ But if it’s something that you truly love, just do it. I knew I wanted to be an electrician and went for it,” Regnerus said.

West Michigan Works! continues to advocate for opportunities for women in the construction industry by supporting and serving as the fiduciary for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Michigan Going PRO Talent Fund training grants. The awards assist employers with training, developing and retaining newly hired and current employees.

“Feyen Zylstra is dedicated to creating a more diverse workforce, and the Going PRO Talent Fund is a valuable resource to help accomplish our goal,” said Kevin Lutz, people services coordinator for Feyen Zylstra. “The grant allows us not only to hire a more diverse workforce but also provide our current employees with valuable training.”

National Women in Construction Week is an effort to raise awareness in the U.S. of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry.

To register for the West Michigan Works! virtual hiring event and access employment resources, click here.

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