Historically, at the end of every year, the team at Kleber and Associates has awarded a Campaign of the Year. This accolade always goes to a marketing campaign we thought rose above the rest.

This year, we’re pivoting in a bit of a different direction… and our Campaign salute is actually an Initiative of the Year.

After all, this recognition is based on critically important milestones achieved in 2023.

Every summer for the last 14 years, The National Association of Women in Construction’s Philadelphia foundation has run the Mentoring young Women In Construction Camp (MyWIC) in Philadelphia. At MyWIC, for five weeks, 40 girls travel around the Philadelphia area. Learning basic safety. Getting their hands on builder products. And orienting to different trades.

The girls spend a day at each trade location… where they meet and interact with women engaged in a skill. They learn, first-hand, what it’s like to be a tradeswoman. And to experience installed building products. At the same time the girls have the opportunity to ask these mentors just about anything that comes to mind – and in so doing – they learn about the incomes possible. As a plumber or a frame carpenter. What’s more, they learn how wide ranging the opportunities are for Women in Construction.

By offering a holistic view of the industry, the camp aims to demystify stereotypes surrounding construction careers. And helps to instill confidence in young women to pursue fulfilling paths within the field.

As the construction industry faces a shortage of skilled workers – tapping into the talent pool of young women – becomes crucial for addressing this gap. By providing mentorship and real-world experiences, the Mentoring Young Women in Construction Camp not only equips young women with the skills needed for success… but also fosters a sense of belonging, in an industry that traditionally has been male-centric.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this past year saw the highest participation rate of women in the workforce to date. Yet women make up only 14 percent of the construction workforce and 4 percent of the trades.

The emphasis on nurturing young female talent is not merely a matter of addressing a gender imbalance… it’s an investment in the future of the construction industry. The experiences gained at the camp empower young women to make informed career choices – and in turn – contribute to the diversity and innovation that our industry channel desperately needs.

MyWIC represents a significant shift for the traditionally male-dominated construction industry… as does the annual Women in Construction Conference. The WIC has emerged as a powerful platform for celebrating the contributions of women in the field. This year’s conference, held in Washington DC in October, marked a pivotal moment in acknowledging the strides women are making in various facets of the industry.

The conference provided a unique space for professionals from diverse backgrounds within construction to come together. Participants engaged in insightful panel discussions… delving into topics ranging from on-site challenges to the evolving role of women in leadership positions. The emphasis was on fostering an inclusive environment – that not only recognizes the accomplishments of women – but also encourages their active participation in shaping the industry’s future.

One of the key takeaways from the conference was the growing importance of diversity in construction. Women are bringing fresh perspectives to the industry. Driving innovation. And contributing significantly to project success. The event underscores the need for continued efforts to break down gender barriers… creating equal opportunities for women in construction.

And we’re not alone in this recognition.

Just a few weeks ago on December 4th, White House officials met with a group of union tradeswomen and North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) representatives. They discussed opportunities and challenges for women in the skilled construction trades… and how the current administration is working to help women enter and succeed in good construction jobs. Discussing the importance of investing in flexible child care and other supportive services. As well as expanding pre-apprenticeship programs and strengthening mentoring initiatives.

As the construction channel landscape continues to evolve… the Women in Construction Conference and the Mentoring Young Women in Construction Camp stand as beacons of change.

By celebrating the current achievements of women – and investing in the potential of young women for the future – the industry is taking strides toward a more inclusive and vibrant tomorrow.

The empowerment of women in construction isn’t just a matter of equality. Rather, it’s a strategic imperative for the industry’s sustained growth and opportunity.

The team at K&A wishes you a 2024 marked by great success. And even greater satisfaction. We thank you for another year of engagement and shared experiences together. If we can be of service – or simply a sounding board for ideas – as you plot out what lies ahead, send an e-mail to Steve at sk@kleberandassociates.com to get the conversation started.