“Hard hats have no gender.” In “Our America: Women Forward,” we take a look at how women are sparking change in construction, an industry usually dominated by men.Video Transcript
– On this International Women’s Day, we are celebrating by launching a week long series about the everyday heroes in our lives.
– Some great stories here, Eric. Our America: Women Forward feature stories about mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends as they break barriers and persevere through challenges. Among the most critical struggles, the impact of COVID-19.
– Yes, ABC 13’s Nick Natario has focused on the economy for a year. So Nick, why are women being impacted more than men do you think?
– Well, it’s simply put, because women work in industries that were impacted more during the pandemic. You know, think about education, tourism, dining. A lot of jobs were lost in those fields. Also, when the pandemic hit and schools closed, well, more women than men went home to help their children. The good news is there are jobs starting to come back. And if you’re a woman willing to get a little dirty and maybe be a female pioneer, we found one industry that’s well paying that’s looking to hire.
This technical school in North Houston offers training to get students into a variety of careers. MIAT College of Technology looks and sounds different from other schools thanks to this group of women, teaching trade jobs, usually, dominated by men, but that could soon change.
– We’ve got to get some girls in here.
– The school recently hired four female instructors, educators with real life experience, and ready to get more women involved in careers in aviation, engineering, and welding.
– Soap and scrubbing makes all the grime come off.
– Just because it may be a male dominated field doesn’t mean that a woman can’t do it.
– The majority of students are men, but the instructors hope that learning under teachers that look like them will attract more women to the school.
– I think women are a little bit more passionate. And when we like to do something, it’s easy.
– A hardhat has no gender, but it pays the same.
– It doesn’t pay exactly the same, but women in construction do make more money than other industries when compared to their male counterparts. Overall, the wage gap between men and women is at about 20%. Compared to construction, well, that number is cut in half, and actually, the wage gap is only 10%.
– We are growing. We’re gaining traction, and I think some of that is that we’re getting more visibility out for young ladies to understand that there’s a viable trade and viable living here.
– Construction Career Collaborative Director Angela Robbins Taylor says, companies are trying to attract women. Right now, only 10% of the workforce is held by females. During the pandemic, 25,000 construction jobs were lost locally. When we start to rebound, there will be plenty of jobs available.
– There are two million open jobs. And if you don’t have one right now, you should be looking for it.
– The latest numbers from the Department of Labor say, there are plenty of women looking for jobs right now. 10% of Black female workers lost jobs. 8% of Hispanic workers lost jobs, and 5% of white women lost positions between February and December of 2020. And the pay isn’t getting any better for women either. The wage gap at the end of 2020 showed white women earn about 20% less than white men, and black women, 30% less than white men. Knowing this, local construction experts say, their industry is one you should consider.
– A career in construction, especially for some of our underserved populations, could mean the difference between living in the poverty cycle that they’ve been in for generations and not.
– If you want to make it a career, there are places, looking to help women do it.
– Now, we’ve got to inspect these blades over here.
– At MIAT, not only could you learn how to do it, but be trained by those who can relate.
– Drive and passion doesn’t have a gender.
– A fact that these four female instructors want to change, because there are many opportunities for women in construction and don’t always have to get dirty.
– Put a little right here, take a picture, and say, you know what? Look what I’m doing.
– Heck yeah, that’s right. What a great attitude there, and you know, there are a lot of different options available if you want to break into these industries. Some of them do cost tens of thousands of dollars and can get quite expensive. The good news is there is actually a lot of help, and more of it is made available because of the pandemic. So I want to make sure I can help you learn about your options, what help is available, different programs.
So I actually sat down with a workforce solutions recruiter. All you have to do to watch the interview, just head over to our ABC 13 streaming app on Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, or Apple TV. It’s a really good conversation, and you can sit. There’s about six minutes, and you can really learn about what help is available. So that way, you can not only get into these industries. You can start making a ton of money too. Live in Fort Wayne County, Nick Natario, ABC 13 Eyewitness News.