- The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the companies it contracts with are aggressively recruiting women to fill a wide variety of construction and operations positions in an effort to meet project labor agreements (PLAs), which require a predefined percentage of women and minority employees.
- Metro has five current rail projects under construction, and, according to federal guidelines, each should have 6.9% women workers; however, some have less than 1%. The guidelines are not requirements, but meeting them could help Metro win future grants, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.
- Metro is collaborating with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building & Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO and the Los Angeles Trade Technical College (L.A. Trade Tech) to host the first female-focused job fair and forum today.
Miguel Cabral, Metro deputy executive officer of diversity and economic opportunity, told the Tribune it is difficult to hire women for some trades, as men dominate certain ones.
Leticia Barajas, vice president of academic affairs and workforce development at L.A. Trade Tech, told the Tribune that only four or five women out of hundreds of students graduate from the school's construction-related programs. In an effort to up the number of women who enroll, the school sends speakers into local middle and high schools and hires women in construction fields as adjunct professors.
"When people think of construction, they need to realize it is not just all physical labor," Barajas told the Tribune. "Many jobs involve reading blueprints and manipulating computer programs."
Women represent half of the population in the U.S., but they make up less than 10% of the construction industry workforce. As the industry is in the middle of a crippling skilled labor shortage, many have ramped up their efforts to recruit women trades to help fill the gap and meet booming demand.