West Michigan Works! celebrates National Women in Construction Week with hiring event and employment resources

GRAND RAPIDS – March 3, 2020 – In celebration of National Women in Construction Week, March 7-13, 2021, West Michigan Works! will host a virtual construction hiring event on March 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Job seekers can register for 15-minute phone conversations with construction employers with immediate openings. Event registration is open until 5 p.m. on Monday, March 8. The job fair is open to all job seekers. Additionally, the workforce solutions provider is publishing two educational videos highlighting the West Michigan construction industry.

With West Michigan projected employment growth of nearly 14 percent 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 requirement.

“With continued growth forecasted throughout our region over the next five years, now is an ideal time to explore a new career that requires with 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 just 14 percent of the 179,300 jobs in the Michigan construction and the number of women with active registered apprenticeships is even less, 11 percent.

While the number of women working in the construction industry is increasing, the opportunity for growth remains. For Shana Regnerus, an electrician at Bolt and Regnerus Electric, 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,” Kevin Lutz, people services coordinator, 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 a national effort to raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry. To register for the West Michigan Works! virtual hiring event and access employment resources, visit https://www.westmiworks.org/industry-spotlights/.

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