Women make up 10.3% of the construction industry workforce and it has remained around that level for the past 18 years, according to NAHB. Only 3% of women in the industry work directly in the skilled trades as well, which is why NAHB’s Professional Women in Building Council is focused on inspiring more women to consider building trades. Skilled labor shortages were an issue before, but now it has been exacerbated by the pandemic. NAHB is sharing stories from tradeswomen to inspire others, such as Nora Spencer, CEO of Hope Renovations. She offers a free 10-week pre-training program for underemployed women to learn the basics of numerous trades from carpentry to plumbing. Read more for additional stories from tradeswomen.
Nora Spencer, CEO of Hope Renovations, a nonprofit trades training program in Carrboro, N.C., said she always had an interest in the trades, which grew stronger when she worked in corporate human resources for a large retail home improvement company where she took full advantage of an employee discount. “I started buying power tools and began a side-hustle as a remodeler, but it bothered me that I didn’t see more women working for general contractors,” Spencer said.
Spencer, a PWB Council board member at the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange & Chatham Counties, wanted to give back. After finishing a master’s degree in social work, she began Hope Renovations because she saw the current need for jobs in the trades as well as the underrepresentation of women in those trades.