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Women Helping Build the Industry and Communities

The 9th annual Trades Women Build Nations Conference took place in Minneapolis October 4-6, 2019, bringing together more than 2,700 tradeswomen internationally, including Carpenter Sisters from Canada and a Joiner Sister from London, United Kingdom. Now the largest gathering of union tradeswomen in the world, the Conference is a testament to the impact of every tradeswoman and their importance in the industry. 

Currently, women make up roughly 9% of the construction industry, but as older generations approach retirement, women are stepping up to fill the gap. Tradeswomen are entering the industry recognizing that a profession in the building trades means wages and benefits that can help support their whole family.

Carpenter and Millwright Sisters from North Dakota walk in the Tradeswomen parade in downtown Minneapolis.

Women from each of the 15 trades met and held their own caucus during the Conference. The Carpenter Sisters discussed new and different recruitment and retention ideas that are working in locals across North America, in hopes of building on the already growing group of tradeswomen.

On Saturday, October 5, more than 250 women union carpenters were celebrated at North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters’ (NCSRCC) Oktoberfest. 

“Women play a significant role in the future of the construction industry,” said John Raines, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of NCSRCC. “We are honored to host the Carpenters Oktoberfest in appreciation of Sisters everywhere and their professional contributions and accomplishments.”

From left to right: John Raines – Executive Secretary Treasurer, Courtney Felix – Local 68, Sabrina McCray – Local 322, Lora Froelke – Local 68

Sisters enjoyed food and beverages from local, women-owned businesses including Kowolski’s Cartering, Urban Growler and Twin Spirits. Music was also be provided by local DJ, Shannon Blowtorch. 

“Supporting local, women-owned businesses was important to us when planning this event. Women are helping to build the construction industry and our communities,” Raines stated.

From left to right: Clair Sprenger, Melody Martin, Jessica Benson, Kaylah Antczak and Tamorra DeLong