Diversity and Inclusion: How Power Partner MN Empowers Women and Minorities To Join the Trades

A common sight in any construction or skilled trades is the predominantly white male staff working on site. Despite that, more companies are now heading towards diversity and inclusion in their labor force.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 87.85% of electricians are white, while women and other races constitute the remaining more or less 20% of the total employed in the trades. The only areas where women outnumber the number of employed men are usually in clerical and administrative duties.

Times are changing, however, with the rise of diversity and inclusion in the workplace advocating for a more inclusive workforce.

In the U.S., the Civil Rights Act of 1964 paved the way for companies to be more lenient when choosing employees. From labor unions to private contractors, there is now a push to include more women and minorities, particularly in the trades, where men dominate the jobs.

How the Demographics in the U.S. Workplace and Business Is Changing

A welcoming change in the trades industry is the arrival of minority-owned businesses and contractors employing a more diverse pool of skilled workers.

While construction and trades are typically a job for the male population, women are also now taking on the duties.

We are now seeing more women providing construction and electrical services. They are making their mark as reliable contractors and electricians.

In 2020, 3.1% of employed electricians are women. When compared ten years ago, in 2010, only 1.5% of electricians are women. Within a decade, women electricians have doubled in numbers. Increasingly, more women are joining the electrical field, making it a viable career option for them.

Five Women Share What It’s Like To Work in the Electrical Industry

Traditional gender roles are becoming less rigid nowadays. Power Partner MN, for instance, shows how women are also able to take on the job of becoming an electrician or managing a contracting firm.

Here are some working women with different stories, telling their experience in the electrical industry. They are a great example that women can have the same job opportunities as men, a testament to the rising diversity and inclusion in the trades.

Laura Karow, Gunnar Electric

After graduating from high school, Laura decided to go to trade school to become an electrician. Laura was lucky enough to grow up with a father who was an electrician, so she knew about the trade.

Laura remarks, “I always knew it was a fun thing to do. I never thought that, as a woman, I never even thought about being an electrician. I wish I knew in middle school how many women there actually are that are electricians, and how much great of a career that is.”

Sarah Nowicki, Local 343 Apprentice

The response that Sarah gets when people find out about her career is that they are shocked. Men and women are both proud, with encouraging words such as, ‘Way to go! Good job!’.

Especially men that have daughters, they would approach her to talk to their daughter. Maybe their daughter wants to be an electrician, letting their daughters know that she can do anything.

“I think people are impressed”, Sarah proudly states.

Kayla Berg, Local 343 Apprentice

Kayla finds it cool coming together and building something that affects people’s lives greatly. In the four years that she has been in a school doing her job, she has seen children growing up, bettering their future, their lives, and choosing their career.

“Whether it’s technology-based or hopefully hands-on as we do”, she implies to the future generation when it comes to picking a job.

Mai Chang, Presidential Electric

The electrical industry is something that Mai has never thought she would be getting involved in. But as she has learned about the industry through her significant other, she has really seen what great opportunity there is for girls and women out there.

Mai adds, “I think it’s really interesting because I don’t see a lot of girls or women really wanting to look in this kind of work. Once you give it an opportunity or be open-minded to learning the various positions and job types that the industry can offer, it will be something you are going to love and be passionate about.”

Gabriella Brune, Local 292 Apprentice

For Gabriella, she says she has had more opportunities in the electrical industry than she ever had before in any job market.

Gabriella has jumped around a lot, and being an electrician is a second career for her. She wakes up at five in the morning as her job starts at around six. Once they are on the site with other workers, they all form a circle and do stretching. This form of exercise, she amusingly quips as a ‘construction yoga’.

“The work culture in the trades is much healthier”, Gabriella declares. She has learned how to use tools, electrical theory, and wiring for residential and industrial projects. As an electrician, she has seen how successful companies put safety above anything else.

Gabriella proudly claims, “It is kind of magical what we can do. It’s being able to put all these wires up and put all this equipment together and just turn it on, and watch it all bloom into life, is beautiful”.

What Is the Impact of Having a More Diverse Skilled Personnel?

As more women and minorities are joining the trades, what does this mean for companies? There are several benefits for both the contractor and the person willing to join the trades. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace can lead to the following affirmative changes.

  • Creates a more positive working culture in accepting people from various backgrounds.
  • Address the labor shortage issue of a firm.
  • Uplifting the morale of minorities and women working in the trades.

The job outlook for electricians, for instance, will grow 8% from 2019 to 2029, a faster than average rate for demand in the skilled position. Owing to the increasing demand, having a diverse workforce can deal with the labor shortage of skilled trades.

Representing the women and the minority in an otherwise white-male-dominated workforce empowers the staff. Breaking barriers in the trades gives them a sense of pride in the work that they do.

Advancing Diversity in the Electrical Workforce

Different industries are now embracing diversity and inclusion in their skilled labor. Aside from construction, the electrical industry is also where one can have a fulfilling career.

Promoting diversity and inclusion in the electrical field gains respect for the contractor. It becomes a status that makes them preferred by clients and even the opportunity to bid and be awarded government contracts. Conversely, the women and minority staff are also proud of choosing a skill or trade regardless of the initial perception of their abilities.

Like the women featured here, Power Partner MN encourages more minorities and women to join the trades. Being in the electrical industry opens up several opportunities for them to thrive in their chosen field.

There are apprenticeship programs that one can join if they choose to join the trades.

If you or someone you know is interested in the trades, Power Partner MN can link them to apprenticeship programs where one can enroll. The firm has affiliations with the following education partners:

Power Partner MN helps connect apprentices to contractors for proper job training so that they too can become certified and skilled electricians in the state of Minnesota.