This blog is second in a two-part series. Check out last week's blog for part one.

WIOPS_Main_LogoMentoring and the benefits it provides both the mentor and the individual mentored (mentee) is unquantifiable. For the first 20 years of my career I had the benefit of a mentor. He was a person that I could go to for any problem, technical or not, and I could rely on him to give me his open and unfiltered opinion of the situation. I knew he always had my best interest in mind. He was not judgmental of my shortfalls, was encouraging when I stumbled and need to get back up and he listened when I challenged that his suggestion was not necessarily the easiest way for a woman in construction to approach a problem. The benefit I received is one of the reasons I am passionate about WiOPS and the importance of our mission—providing mentoring to women in construction operations.

Not every professional in our industry has found a person to be that great mentor. There are tools that can help the mentoring relationship be successful. WiOPS has tried to summarize the information we have received and researched into “A Guide To Mentoring” that is found on our website.  The introduction is a must read for anyone considering this relationship.   Understanding the journey and experience women face in the construction industry is different than that of our male counterparts. Picking your mentor is step one; it begins with understanding expectations and responsibilities in the roles. A fundamental basis is that there needs to be a relationship—the mentee must respect and value the mentor and their advice, and the mentor must personally care so they invest the time in the mentee.

WiOPS provides a source of mentors to many women in the industry.  We have found that many women work for companies that have very few or even no female role models. WiOPS provides this as well as a source of experienced women from the industry that can meet and hopefully connect on a 1 on 1 relationship. Setting up the 1 on 1 was an initial goal of WiOPS.  However, late in year 1 the feedback we received is that the women were interested in group mentoring. They wanted more time to network and interface with all the women at each of the events. This provided the benefit of an open dialog on many different challenges and solutions, expanded discussions on experiences in a non-traditional role and provided advice on similar situations.  Most WiOPS members have had similar situations or events that they can share with others.

Now 5 years later, we have again polled the membership and the requests have shifted to assisting in developing 1 on 1 mentor relationships.  Technology has evolved over the last 5 years as there have been developments in apps or software that assist in setting up these relationships. Match.com for your mentor relationship. We hope to add this capability to our members in 2018.

WiOPS’ goal is to provide the opportunities for women to connect and gain experience through mentors and comraderies that will aid in their success in their careers. Our handbook is a basic starting point—a tool to sharpen the skill of women in construction.

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About NCCER

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.