Constructor - July/August 2017 - 31

BY AMY DREW THOMPSON
A LARGE, WELL-KNOWN GLOBAL company gave Martha dePlazaola Abbott her
first job in corporate architecture. But
before she took the position, she needed
to know something: did they have women
in executive leadership roles?
"They did," she says. "And because
of that I knew I would not have a glass
ceiling to contend with. It certainly didn't
mean it would be easy, but at least I knew
it was attainable."
Having a role model," says Abbott, now
the vice president, workplace studio leader
for SmithGroupJJR, an AGC of Michigan
member, is half the battle. It tells a prospective employee that their chances of
climbing the ladder are as good as anyone's. "It means the company is adaptive,"
she explains, "and resilient to the future."
And make no mistake: white males
do not dominate the future workforce,
not in the way they have in the past; the
U.S. workforce is more colorful and gender diverse than ever. That means that
most attractive demographic-the best
and the brightest-come from a variety
of backgrounds.
And yet even now-this nugget from
the Bureau of Labor and Statistics is from
2016-males dominate the construction
industry at 91 percent, referencing just
the XY side of the equation.
Now, let's get colorful.
Three years ago, the BLS also detailed
the whitest jobs in America. We won't go
too overboard here, but these are just a few
listed at 90 percent or higher: steel workers, construction supervisors, construction
managers, carpenters, cement masons,
electricians, sheet metal workers...
And this leads us right back to the math.
If an industry that already deals with a
workforce shortage, an industry 91 percent
male and 65 percent white in a nation that
steadily heads the other way, wants to
attract fresh talent, it's already clear where
to cast its nets. The only question is how?
In January 2017, AGC of America created a Diversity & Inclusion Council to help
the association's members answer that
question. The Council, led by a 16-member
steering committee is working to provide
education and training opportunities for

@Constr uctor Ma g

industry leaders on the business imperative
for diversity and inclusion. In addition, the
Council is producing best practice toolkits
for AGC members to identify and implement
inclusive practices within their respective
companies to help AGC members attract
and retain the best talent.
AGC is committed to helping its member companies achieve their business
goals, and that includes helping them to
understand the importance that a diversified workforce has to project success
and, ultimately, their bottom line. But, you
can't maintain a diverse workforce without
also committing to inclusion. Inclusion is
about creating a culture that values every
employee and the perspective they bring
to a situation. As an association, it's about
ensuring that it represents the interests of
each of its members and not elevating the
needs of one group of members over the
needs of another.

HIGHLIGHT THE OPPORTUNITIES
The percentage of women in the construction industry, says Carey Smith, was
growing from roughly 1980 to the year
2000-but then, it leveled off.
"If we end up getting the $1 trillion
infrastructure over the next 10 years that
the new administration has planned, and
we're coupled with a labor shortage, how
are we going to fill those positions unless
we attract women into the market?"
She'd be one to ask. Parsons, one of the
world's leading engineering-based infrastructure, industrial and federal contracting
firms and a member of multiple AGC chapters, appointed her president of its Federal
business unit last year.
"The economic benefits for females
(in this industry) are better. The gender
wage gap is less in construction, where
women make 93 cents on the dollar versus the average, which is 82 cents. And if
you look at the trade industries, people get
paid much higher than traditional women's jobs. A plumber, for example, makes
$84,000 a year, whereas the median wage
is $49,000."
But, she notes, these opportunities need
to be highlighted well before college-for
young men and women.

"Children are steered by their parents,
teachers and guidance counselors into
certain career fields. We need to encourage them: play with Legos, go to robotics
classes and get involved in shop class at
a very young age. It's the only way we're
going to build a pipeline going forward."
Parsons employs multiple programs to
ignite interest in construction fields. Spark
Mentoring, a 10-week course for middle
schoolers, comes from the company's
Chicago office and pairs students from
underserved communities with Parsons
staffers to work on a project. The program
has been in place since 2004, and the
stats prove its success. Spark participants
have a 92 percent high school graduation
rate in districts where the average is 68.
In Pasadena, the company's ParSTEM
program has been in place for 20 years.
"Our employees volunteer to work with
students on engineering and science projects and even do mock interviews," says
Smith. Students build everything from
robots to bridges.
"Parsons also supports the ACE Mentor
Program, which started back in 1995,"
she says. "Employees mentor high school
students, encouraging them to go into
architecture, engineering and construction and providing them with exposure
through some of our projects in technical
construction."

LEAD BY EXAMPLE
It's the best way, says Abbott.
"Companies that only have stodgy old
white guys amid their leadership will have
difficulty in attracting a diverse employee
demographic," she says plainly.
To improve its image, she says, the
industry can better recognize the evolution of the business world and move
toward alignment.
"The world works differently today,"
she says. "People have different needs,
and in order to attract the best talent,
firms need to be malleable and forwardthinking. They need to put programs in
place that support things like flexible
work environments, households with two
working parents and other supportive
measures."

J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 7 | www.constructormagazine.com 31


http://www.constructormagazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Constructor - July/August 2017

Editor’s Note
President’s Message
Ceo’s Letter
Automation on the Jobsite
Simonson Says
Students Pave the Way for a Bright Construction Future
A Diversified Portfolio
Deadline for OSHA Crane Operator Certification and Qualification Approaches
Chapter Connection
Changes to Immigration Policy Could Impact Contractors
Agc in Action
Be Wreck-Less
Raze the Roof
2017 Construction Safety Excellence Award Winners
Huddleston Elementary School Renovation Project Grabs 2017 Alliant Build America Award
Inside Agc
Legislative and Regulatory News
Senior Counsel
Technology Toolbox
Westport Presbyterian Church Reconstruction Project Secures 2017 Alliant Build America Award
2017 Regional Resource Guide - A Special Advertising Section
Products & Services Marketplace
Index to Advertisers
Final Inspection
Constructor - July/August 2017 - intro
Constructor - July/August 2017 - cover1
Constructor - July/August 2017 - cover2
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 3
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 4
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 5
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 6
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 7
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 8
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 9
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 10
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Editor’s Note
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 12
Constructor - July/August 2017 - President’s Message
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 14
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Ceo’s Letter
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Automation on the Jobsite
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 17
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 18
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 19
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 20
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 21
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 22
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Simonson Says
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Students Pave the Way for a Bright Construction Future
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 25
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 26
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 27
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 28
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 29
Constructor - July/August 2017 - A Diversified Portfolio
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 31
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 32
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 33
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 34
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 35
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Deadline for OSHA Crane Operator Certification and Qualification Approaches
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 37
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 38
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Chapter Connection
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Changes to Immigration Policy Could Impact Contractors
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 41
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 42
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 43
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Agc in Action
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 45
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Be Wreck-Less
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 47
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Raze the Roof
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 49
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 50
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 51
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 2017 Construction Safety Excellence Award Winners
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 53
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 54
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Huddleston Elementary School Renovation Project Grabs 2017 Alliant Build America Award
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 56
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 57
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Inside Agc
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 59
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 60
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Legislative and Regulatory News
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Senior Counsel
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 63
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 64
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Technology Toolbox
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Westport Presbyterian Church Reconstruction Project Secures 2017 Alliant Build America Award
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 67
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 2017 Regional Resource Guide - A Special Advertising Section
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 69
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 70
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 71
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 72
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 73
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 74
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 75
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 76
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Constructor - July/August 2017 - 125
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 126
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 127
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 128
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 129
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 130
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 131
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 132
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 133
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 134
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 135
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 136
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 137
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 138
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 139
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 140
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 141
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 142
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 143
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Products & Services Marketplace
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 145
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 146
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 147
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Index to Advertisers
Constructor - July/August 2017 - 149
Constructor - July/August 2017 - Final Inspection
Constructor - July/August 2017 - cover3
Constructor - July/August 2017 - cover4
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