OCP Finish Carpenter Elizabeth Kahler

Message to the Team - March 2020

I knew as a child helping my father with renovation projects, construction was the industry I wanted to be in. At that young age, I didn’t take into consideration what it might be like to be the only woman on a job site or what challenges I may have to face.

Women comprise 47% of the country's workforce; although, that rate is just 10% in the construction industry and just under 3% in production roles, according to the National Association of Women in Construction.

The construction industry is expected to see a 12% employment growth between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is so important that each of us works to change the narrative and recognize biases in the industry so that we can address the lack of women's talent within the industry.

OCP is making positive strides every day to make equal representation in the workforce a reality and WIC Week is the time for everyone to celebrate that. This year, OCP held a panel for each location’s women team members to come together and talk about how we can continue to diversify the industry and improve daily experiences on the job for everyone. It was a great opportunity to collaborate with women working on various job sites in different positions. This opportunity to come together to suggest ideas for positive change shows OCP’s commitment to diversifying the workforce.

Gathering feedback from the minority group of a larger team, better serves the entire workforce. According to the Peterson Institute, companies who were in the top 25% in the gender diversity of their workforce are 46% more likely to outperform their industry average.

A variety of topics were discussed and a survey will be going out to all of the women within the workforce for additional feedback. Immediate results from the panel include the need for representation of the women workforce at career fairs and creating quarterly event opportunities for the OCP women workforce to collaborate.

Every year someone asks, “When will we celebrate men in construction week?” OCP will stop celebrating once there is a fair representation of 50-50 males and females in the workforce. Until then, let’s change the perspective of the industry and attract people of all diversities and help them succeed.