In 2017, women made up 26.2% of our overall non-craft team member composition. Advocating for our current and future women construction professionals does not start and stop one week out of the year. After a weeklong celebration and discussion throughout the 2018 Women in Construction week, our Washington, D.C. team identified three strategies to continue to encourage the increase of women in the construction industry.
MENTORSHIP – Nurture a culture of advocacy
A strong organizational culture is built on a foundation of trust. Empowering a team member to become their best involves helping others become their best along the way. With strong mentor relationships and trust, our teams become even better.
- Participate in mentorship programs that connect a new team member with a mentor
- Create opportunities for team members to foster innovation and culture
- Encourage team members to get involved in industry organizations
"I have had multiple mentors in my career that have shaped and encouraged me to become who I am today. To me, Women in Construction week is a reminder to thank my mentors, and to take the time to help others in their career journey. I will always take the time to educate and help others when given the opportunity. The powerful influence of my mentors has taught me that."
- Laura Wake-Ramos, Project Engineer
STEWARDSHIP - Engage in the formative years
Engaging with students in their middle-school and high-school years has the greatest impact on their career paths and passion for the construction industry. These are the years that students seek guidance and make decisions that will define their future. Through volunteering our time and experience, we are cultivating the future of the construction industry.
- Volunteering at school mentoring programs specific to the architecture, engineering, or construction industries (programs such as the ACE Mentorship Program)
- Volunteering for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) programs to encourage students initial and continued interested in these and similar fields
- Engage with college students and academic programs to share our knowledge and experiences working within the construction industry
"In my experience, construction wasn’t a widely discussed career path in engineering school. In an educational setting where women were already a minority, I wasn’t getting exposed to all of the post-graduation options available. Industry leaders like Mortenson are taking steps to improve this by increasing their presence at university career fairs to generate more interest."
- Hollie Lohman, Assistant Project Manager
BUILD COMMUNITY – Share the story
Transformational change requires stepping back to observe and reflect. Everyone involved in construction should actively be encouraging women to join our workforce. When it comes to equality and inclusion, our industry has made incredible strides, and there are many current and future opportunities for women in construction to take advantage of.
- Create programs and incentives that recognize women in construction and encourages team members to share their stories
- Encourage each team member to play an active role in promoting the rewards and benefits of their construction profession
"Be active. Seek opportunities, ask questions, and observe the rest of the team to see what works. This will most likely be a male-dominated field for quite a while, but there are a lot of opportunities for women to stand out. People are people and you deal with them the same regardless of gender, race, etc. respectfully, kindly, considerately."
- Heather Schlesinger, Assistant Superintendent