News & Updates

News & Updates

Luncheon, Training Announcement Mark ‘Women in Construction Week’

A luncheon and the launch of a second ValleyBuild NOW apprenticeship readiness training program helped highlight “Women in Construction Week” in the region.

Commemorated nationally March 5 through 11, the week celebrates and promotes the role of women in the construction industry. On International Women’s Day (March 8) in Fresno, ValleyBuild officials announced that the next ValleyBuild NOW (Non-traditional Occupations for Women) class will start April 24. Recruitment is open.

The all-female cohort will build on the success of last year’s inaugural training program that featured a 100% graduation rate. All of the ValleyBuild MC3 (Multi-Craft Core Curriculum) Apprenticeship Readiness Training programs prepare individuals for high-paying, stable careers in the building and construction trades.

ValleyBuild NOW is a strategy to address the small number of women in the trades – estimated at anywhere from 4% to 10%. “Whatever the percentage is, it’s still too low,” said Ashley Matthews, senior project coordinator with the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board, the fiscal agent for the state-funded, 14-county ValleyBuild program.

The building and construction trades offer good wages and job opportunities, she said, and “the door is wide open for women” to enter the industry. The April 24 training program is scheduled in Fresno, and ValleyBuild NOW will expand to Bakersfield in June.

On March 9, nearly 300 people attended the Third Annual Women in Construction luncheon presented in Modesto by Valley Builders Exchange.

The popular event, focused on education and supporting women in the trades, featured a full program of speakers along with $1,500 scholarship awards to five women studying construction-related subjects in trade schools and colleges.

Christine Schweininger, executive director of Valley Builders Exchange, said the luncheon is designed to “highlight the different things that are going on with women in the industry, whether that is overcoming obstacles or challenges or celebrating the success of what they are doing.

“There are a lot of women in the industry that are coming out and are really excited and proud about what they’re doing, especially when they’re around all these other women.”

Keynote speaker Mary Teichert talks about her work as a woman in the construction industryat the Women in Construction Luncheon in Modesto

Guests heard a keynote address from Mary Teichert, president of Teichert Inc., and listened to a panel of speakers featuring Samantha Salbeck, project engineer at George Reed Inc., Lisa de Freitas Sundberg, co-founder and CFO of Platinum Pipeline Inc., and Evangelina Paoluccio, engineering manager at Inventive Resources Inc.

Scholarship recipients were Olivia Smith, Purdue University; Maria Barragan and Gem Agustin, San Joaquin Valley College; Paige Carr, California Polytechnic State University; and Sieanna Haggerty, University of Pacific.

Planning already is underway for the fourth annual luncheon in March 2024.