‘More than just swinging a hammer’
By Ellen Silk
To boost careers for women in the construction industry, City College’s City Build program and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) hosted construction career day on March 5 at Evans campus.
Students attending the event, which coincided with the 10-year anniversary of women in construction week, walked though fake shingled walls and drywall mockups to get a feel for working in the trades.
“This week is important because it helps to build careers, build lives and build the future for women in construction,” Dede Hughes, executive vice president for NAWIC, wrote in the event’s program.
Booths Dome Construction, McCarthy, United Rentals, Rosendin Electric and other companies showcased careers in civil engineering, renewable energy and more. San Francisco State University offered programs in career and technical teaching credentials.
City Build program at City College provides recruiting, training and job placement services to job seekers, employers and employees in San Francisco’s construction industry.
“I love it when students open their eyes to see there is more than just swinging a hammer,” said Arcadia Maximo, the lead instructor for construction trades classes. However, she added, it is hard to get male peers and bosses “to recognize we can do the work.”
Ielia Pryor has been with Laborers Union Local 22 for over six years and is currently participating in the City Build program. “Whatever a man can do, a woman can do just as well, but we are given the easier jobs like holding the stop sign,” Pryor said.
Phyllis McGuire, associate vice chancellor of Workforce and Economic Development at City College, agreed that women face different challenges in the workplace.
“Because of the role women play in society, they struggle with family and employment,” McGuire said. She added, not all jobs take place during daycare hours.
Maximo offered a ray of sunshine saying “In this industry we make dollar for dollar what a man makes. Same work, same pay.”