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Megan Ross is an assistant superintendent for a large Maryland-based general contractor. Ross, a former architecture major, had realized she’d rather build structures than design them, and is now on construction sites every day, coordinating subcontractors and monitoring the progress of jobs.
At her first position out of college, she earned a salary of over $50,000; two years later she says, “I have friends in architecture who are making half of that.” The work is a joy, she says. “It’s one of the best careers you can have.”
Ross is part of an overlooked group that, with some assistance, could easily solve the construction industry’s labor shortage: women. Currently, women make up less than 3 percent of the construction workforce, which includes the building trades—hands-on jobs like carpentry, bricklaying, and electrical work—as well as management. If twice as many women worked in the field, the industry’s labor shortage would, according to data availablefrom the U.S. Department of Labor, practically be wiped out.
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