More than 400 students and teachers from 22 high schools attended the Second Annual Girls in Trades Conference and Career Fair held March 2nd in Boston. Established in 2015 to encourage young women to pursue careers in the construction trades, the group has seen increased interest among young women in Massachusetts. Brian Doherty, general agent of the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan Boston District said, “Only 2% of the construction jobs in the United States are currently held by women, but Massachusetts is a cut above.” In this state women hold 7.5% of the construction jobs, and the goal is 20% by the year 2020.

It’s conferences like this one that will encourage women to explore a career in the trades. Speakers from multiple unions addressed the crowd and educated attendees about career pathways and union construction trades. Students and educators were able to meet working tradeswomen and union representatives firsthand. Twanya Lawson, a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 4 and current machine operator at the Wynn Boston Harbor construction site, was inspirational. “There’s no limits with me,” she declared, referring to her own training which allows her to operate all kinds of heavy equipment from small bobcats to large tower cranes. She impressed upon the female students the importance of thinking big and always striving for more.

According to Maryanne Ham, an administrator at Minuteman High School and a board member of Massachusetts Girls in Trades, “The young women who attended the Conference are better informed and more prepared to pursue careers in union construction trades. Their teachers are better positioned to guide students to these high-skill, high-wage careers. Connections with union construction apprenticeship programs and careers, once limited to a few high schools, are now available to every career and technical high school in the Commonwealth.”  Due to its popularity, a second Conference and Career Fair is scheduled for April 13 at the William J. Dean Technical High School in Holyoke.

PSW is proud to be a member of the Massachusetts Girls in Trades board.