$1.4 million federal grant to promote women in construction

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

The U.S. Department of Labor is promoting gender equity and inclusion in construction with a $1.35 million grant to support tradeswomen in Illinois, aligning with President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure package signed into law almost two years ago. This goal is to address the gender gap and create opportunities for women in the construction industry.

The grant will be distributed to the state’s Department of Labor and the nonprofit organization Chicago Women in Trades (CWIT) and shared with workforce development groups working towards fostering gender equity and increasing female representation in the construction sector. Initiatives encompass apprenticeship programs and other pathways, designed to attract more women workers to pursue careers in the construction industry.

The grant also impacts the clean energy sector by supporting programs that encourage inclusivity and equal opportunities.

Currently, only 25.5 per cent of women are in physically demanding occupations such as construction, mining, and agriculture. In the construction industry, women account for about 25.5 per cent of the workforce.

The grant is expected to create opportunities for:

  • Pre-apprenticeships
  • Trade apprenticeships
  • Careers in public works construction

The $1.35 million grant is a crucial step towards leveling the playing field in the construction industry.

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