ADOT Holds Two-Week Construction Training Program For Women

By Harry Croton
Published: Monday, March 9, 2020 - 5:04pm
Updated: Monday, March 9, 2020 - 5:05pm

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ADOT women construction training
Harry Croton/KJZZ
Patricia Mckinley instructs a group of students at Sundt Construction in Phoenix.

The Arizona Department of Transportation has organized a two-week construction training academy specifically for women. The program aims to bring more women into the workforce as well as help remedy a labor shortage in Arizona.

There are 5,000 construction job vacancies in Arizona and more than 300,000 nationwide. Of the more than 10 million construction workers in the U.S., only 9% are women.

So ADOT has partnered with several contractors in the state to provide a free training course this month to address those shortages. Steve Navis, who works for ADOT and coordinated the program, says the need for crew members is constant.

“We are not going to stop building roads, we are not going to stop building buildings," said Navis, workforce development program manager. "Understanding the skills needed to produce those tasks and to be successful in that workforce really is knowledge-based — it is not physically based.”

The academy is teaching concepts such as construction math and blueprint reading. It is also providing resources to obtain certifications and permits like a commercial driver’s license.

“I am learning things that I’ve never learned, I am doing things that I’m excited about doing, and I am in an industry where women don’t get a chance to have a voice or a presence," 58-year-old Letitia LaMar said.

ADOT began offering co-ed training programs in 2014 and has since graduated more than 600 students. The agency is planning additional courses this year just for women.

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