King County Executive Dow Constantine recently hosted an Employee Listening Session on the topic “Women in Trades” to hear from the people in the best position to advise on how we can bring more women into the skilled trades at King County – women working in the trades at King County.
“As women who work in the trades here at King County, I want to get your thoughts on how we can bring more women into skilled trades jobs at the County,” Executive Constantine said to the attendees. “What are the barriers you see or have encountered yourself, and how we can go about removing them?”
At King County just 7% of employees in the skilled crafts are women, whereas women comprise 41% of the total County workforce. Executive Constantine spoke about the need to do more to attract women into County trades careers if we are to be truly representative of the communities we serve at all levels.
The women represented a diverse group of trades, including painting, plumbing, carpentry and electrical, and worked in the Facilities Management Division, Roads Division, Fleet Division, Parks Division, Wastewater Treatment Division and Metro Transit.
The group’s suggestions included looking at how the County can provide more trades jobs so there are more positions to recruit women into (“it’s hard to attract women into jobs that don’t exist” was one comment); an apprenticeship program for garage services; offering more apprenticeships in the north of the county rather than just south King County; and beginning early with education to help girls believe they can do trades work and with boys to show them that girls can excel at this work.
Executive Constantine began hosting quarterly Employee Listening Sessions last December to hear from employees about the issues they are facing in their workplaces, and what the County can do to help them thrive and better serve their customers.
Thank you to the employees who participated in this listening session and providing their unique perspectives and ideas.