Opportunities abound for women interested in construction industry jobs, careers

For Shana Regnerus, a career in construction is about pursuing a personal passion.

Regnerus, an electrician at Bolt & Regnerus Electric in Jenison, is among the growing number of women finding satisfying — and successful —  careers in the construction industry. 

“No matter what job you do, someone is going to tell you ‘you can’t’ or that it’s not a good idea. But if it’s something that you truly love, just do it. I knew I wanted to be an electrician and went for it,” Regnerus says.

Hot Jobs

This career path is being spotlighted during National Women in Construction Week, which runs March 7-13, 2021. West Michigan Works! is among the organizations highlighting the opportunities for more women to find jobs or longtime careers in the industry locally. With West Michigan’s projected employment growth of nearly 14% between 2016-26 and 555 annual job openings, construction laborers rank second on the West Michigan Works! Hot Jobs list

National Women in Construction Week is a national effort to raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry.
Many opportunities in the industry, such as landscape crew leader and roofer, require no formal education or certification.  

“With continued growth forecasted throughout our region over the next five years, now is an ideal time to explore a new career that requires no formal training or degree,” says Amy Lebednick, West Michigan Works! business solutions director. “Historically a male-dominated field, women have an equally viable employment role in the industry.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women hold just 14% of the 179,300 jobs in Michigan construction, and only 11% of active registered apprenticeships are held by women.

Advocating for women

West Michigan Works! continues to advocate for opportunities for women in the construction industry by supporting and serving as the fiduciary for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Michigan Going PRO Talent Fund training grants. The awards assist employers with training, developing, and retaining newly hired and current employees. 

“Feyen Zylstra is dedicated to creating a more diverse workforce, and the Going PRO Talent Fund is a valuable resource to help accomplish our goal,” says Kevin Lutz, people services coordinator at Feyen Zylstra. “The grant allows us not only to hire a more diverse workforce, but also provide our current employees with valuable training.”

National Women in Construction Week is a national effort to raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry. West Michigan Works! offers information about jobs in the industry and other employment resources, at westmiworks.org/industry-spotlights/.