World of Concrete 2019: More women entering skilled trade

Carhartt, the company that once outfitted a new class of working women during WWII, has unveiled a new, inclusive brand at World of Concrete 2019 as more women enter the skilled trade workforce.

“If you’re putting a uniform program together, you need to make sure your assortment lends itself to both men and women of all shapes and sizes,” said Katelyn Donah, senior brand manager of Carhartt Company Gear. The 130-year-old brand Carhartt debuted its new program at the tradeshow Tuesday at the Las Vegas Conventon Center.

Donah said women in the past have had a hard time finding workwear that fits.

“It’s been a lot of, in the past, taking a men’s garment and fit and shrinking it down to a woman’s size,” she said.

Donah said women in the construction, service and transportation industries has been picking up over the last three years. Women made up 9.9 percent of construction employees in 2018, compared to 9.7 a decade prior, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“We’re seeing a lot of women coming into the workforce. … There’s a renewed focus on it,” Donah said. “We’ve been doing a much better job of aligning our assortment so it meets the needs of the whole business when they’re outfitting employees.”

Donah said the gap in skill trades has allowed more women to enter these industries. Las Vegas alone has faced an estimated shortage of about 10,000 construction workers within the past two years.

“You have your folks that are getting to the age where they want to retire and there’s not a lot of young guys moving up in these industries,” she said. “Women are taking a little bit of that on themselves.”



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