During the pandemic, the construction industry has had the highest percentage growth in female employment compared to all other industries
Although construction has traditionally had the lowest female participation rate of any industry at just under 11%, things are beginning to change.
At age 18, New Jersey-native Abbey Agius, traded her waitress apron for a tool belt when she decided to try a free 8-week carpenter pre-apprentice program. Today, Abbey is a flooring specialist and part of the steering committee for Sisters in the Brotherhood, an organization that helps women learn the trade and develop leadership skills. She’s also training to be a foreman.
Abbey is not alone. With the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) projected to create more than 11 million jobs in the next 10 years, more women are considering construction careers than ever before. To meet this growing demand and bring more women and minorities from underserved communities into the trade, the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters (EASRCC) created CARP (Carpenters' Apprentice Ready Program), a free co-ed program that is now expanding to Edison, New Jersey, and Washington D.C.
After completing their pre-apprenticeship, participants, like Abbey, can sign up for a full 4-year carpenter apprenticeship program, where they are provided with a starting wage, which doubles by the fourth year, and their contributions toward the pension plan begin immediately. Once apprentices reach 600-hours, they also become eligible for health care.
“When I came in, I didn’t know anything. They really helped me get where I wanted to go. Without the CARP program I might not be as happy as I am at work,” says Abbey, who is now 22 years old.
For more information on CARP, CLICK HERE.