Construction industry looks at how to attract women to field

Mortenson hosted a tour of U.S. Bank Stadium for women in the construction field.

Construction industry looks for ways to attract women to the field

For many, the term “construction worker” conjures an image of a man, even if it’s just subconsciously.

Stereotypes and perceptions about the industry are part of the reason that construction is not a career path most women tend to consider. This is Women in Construction Week, organized by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to combat those beliefs by showcasing women in the field across the United States who are active and visible members of the industry.

The organization focuses on education, outreach, mentoring and counseling women interested in joining the industry or those in the early stages of their career. The goal is to increase the number of women and, ultimately, influence the culture of construction so that women stay in the field.

Golden Valley-based construction firm Mortenson, a NAWIC partner, hosted on Tuesday a group of college women pursuing related degrees from the University of Minnesota, Dunwoody College of Technology and Summit Academy, on a tour of its most high-profile construction site: U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
“When I started right out of college, there was only one other female field manager,” said Kelly Mansell, a Mortenson construction executive. “So, I think seeing other women in the field above you helps a lot.”

Women over the past 10 years have composed only about 9 percent, give or take a few tenths of a percent, of construction employees across the industry, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Kristia Davern, Twin Cities chapter president of NAWIC, said there are several reasons women don’t enter the field, including the perception that it is for men only, being in the minority and “dads bring their sons into the industry, but often not their daughters.”

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