Celebration of women continues as it’s National Women in Construction Week

Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 5:42 PM CST
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PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - “I am the only female, majority of the time,” said Jennifer Frank. “We only have 8 women out of 2 hundred something guys,” added Kasey Clouse.

Jennifer Frank, a heat and frost insulator, and Kasey Clouse, an ironworker, are just two examples out of a small group of women who work non-traditional jobs in construction, a pre-dominantly male field.

Ironworker(25 News Staff)

This week is National Women in Construction week, which highlights and brings awareness to these women, and hopefully empowers more to go after these non-traditional jobs.

Sharon Williams, a Labor Paper Editor & Business Manager, said “I think a lot of women don’t consider construction as a career. And construction is an amazing career for any woman who wants to work hard. It offers an amazing salary, benefits -- great benefits.”

Jennifer Frank found herself in a similar position, and decided to ask her dad. Frank added, “I was working all kinds of odds and ends jobs and I knew my dad did construction and I wanted to make some real money, so I asked him one day and I said ‘Dad I need a job!’ And he’s like ‘Man this ain’t for you.”

But it was. She’s been a heat and frost insulator for 15 years and is a third generation following her father and grandfather.

Frank said, “It’s an honor to be able to represent women in the trades, especially being out here in the construction industry because our percentages are so low. It’s gratifying and it can be empowering also.”

And these women are making a difference, even when it comes to companies and the hiring process.

Sharon Williams added, “A lot of the internationals are looking at recruiting 20 percent of their workforce as women.”

Experienced insulators like frank make 80 to 90 thousand dollars a year. If you’re just starting out, it’s near 22 dollars an hour and goes up 10 percent each year until you graduate from your apprenticeship in five years.

There is an all-women trades group here named “Union Sisters of Central Illinois.” You can find them on Facebook to learn more and get involved.

Frank concluded, “For anyone that’s interested, if I can do it, you can do it. If you see her, you can be her.” Clouse finished, “I mean do it, if it’s what you want to do, don’t let anything stop you. We can do it just as good as anyone else.”

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