Women comprise 3% of workers in the building construction trades—jobs often offering good wages and opportunity for advancement (USDOL, 2012). This research implemented a mixed methods collective case study to examine the creation, implementation, and results of setting hiring goals for tradeswomen on construction projects in order to assess whether these goals support and/or increase the number of women working in the building trades. Cases included the Green Line light rail project in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN and projects implementing Portland, OR’s Model Community Benefit Agreement (CBA). Government documents, communications, news stories, 19 stakeholder interviews and Bureau of Labor Statistics data were analyzed to better understand the formation, implementation, and results of hiring goals, and their effects on women working in the building trades. Findings show women who work in the building trades still struggle against numerous barriers including the lingering cultural ideal that women do not and/or should not want to work in the construction industry. Therefore, hiring goals appear to be one of only a handful of tools in place supporting women’s entry into construction careers. While appearing to support women’s entry into the building trades, they are not common enough nor generally employed in ways supporting women’s retention and promotion. Each of the examined cases implemented, not just hiring goals for women and minorities, but innovative features to support the meeting of those goals. These essential features included community involvement in oversight committees and supporting companies in recruitment of diverse employees.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. 2015. Major: Design. Advisor: Julia Robinson. 1 computer file (PDF); 196 pages.
Hiring goals: Are they assisting more women to enter and remain in the building trades?.
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