This blog is first in a two-part series. Check back next week for part two.

Five years ago, a roundtable discussion with a group of Southern California women builders, highlighted similarities of what we (women) believe to be the gaps in our development and advancement. There were two common trends that came forward, regardless of the area of the business that the women were involved. These two topics were mentors and networking.

WIOPS_Main_LogoAfter a lot of thought, research and more discussions, the idea developed for WiOPS – Women in Construction Operations. Our goal was for the mentoring of women in construction to aid in the development of future leaders. In January of 2013, WiOPS was launched and began its mission in the Southern California area. Since then, WiOPS has developed on many fronts. We now hold events on the last Wednesday of each month, except December, and as a 501 (c)(3) organization aimed at the education of women in construction, our events all contain an educational/developmental focus. 

There are three types of events: technical, hands-on exposure to the industry, panel and discussion topics and pure fun. In the past years we have held sessions on plumbing, fire stopping, drywall framing, taping, electrical wiring, confined space and rescue fire control. There have been panel discussions with the leaders of large General Contractors in the area and the corresponding senior women, executive coach discussions and even researchers from Catalyst discussing trends of diverse talent and how to enhance your career. Each year, there is a golf session where the low handicap players from the industry work as the Pros and coaches.

All of these events hold an opportunity to meet other women and men interested in the special needs or gaps that exist for women in our industry. Through organized meetings, there is an opportunity to connect, discuss concerns and events in your work or life that you need advice on, and also, to simply hear the experiences of other women in similar situations. A common comment that we hear is, “I thought this was just me…”

WiOPS has given the women of southern California a larger network, all supporting a common cause: leveling the playing field in an industry that is comprised of just 9% women. So how do we bring value to these women and aid in their development?  Mentoring, and our approach to it, is the primary goal. The handbook that we published is a brief synopsis of what one can find at WiOPS events. It is an initial guide that can begin your journey into fulfilling an important part of your career development, growth and education.

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  1. Mark Correa | Sep 06, 2017
    Hands down, the best association for aspiring building professionals.

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    NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.