WiOPS starts Northern California chapter to provide mentorship, opportunities for women in construction

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WiOPS president and ISEC business development Ha Le Khac

A Southern California nonprofit focused on the advancement of women in construction has expanded into Northern California. Women in Construction Operations (WiOPS) will launch its Northern California chapter Jan. 17 and will provide mentorship and educational opportunities for women in construction.

“We need women in the construction industry,” WiOPS Northern California Chapter vice-president and McCarthy Building Cos. senior project manager Kelly Coogan said. “We are a huge population that is being underutilized.” While women make up about half of the U.S. population, they make up less than 10 percent of the positions in construction, according to Coogan. Women also can be used to help alleviate an ongoing construction labor shortage. “Encouraging more women to join the trades will help to increase the overall total workforce, ultimately shoring up economic growth,” Coogan said. “It makes business sense.”

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WiOPS Northern California president Ha Le Khac, board members Jennifer Lauritzen and Christina Greystone, secretary Marie Patterson, treasurer LaDrena Dansby and board members Stacie McConnell and Melissa Berg

WiOPS provides professional women with a place to learn about technology and development in the industry, discuss specific issues women face in their careers and obtain feedback and guidance from others who have been through it, according to WiOPS Northern California board member and Swinerton project executive Jennifer Laurizen.

The organization is open to women and men who work in construction, architecture and engineering and provides a place for these professionals to gather and share information. Laurizen said she got involved with the organization because of the mentorship aspect, which she felt was missing in the workplace for women not just in construction but in all industries.

WiOPS has 600 members in its Southern California chapter, which was established five years ago. Its Northern California expansion was based on interest and need for an organization from companies that participated in Southern California events, Bisnow quoted WiOPS governing board member and Lendlease construction project executive Holly Cindell as saying.

To register for the Northern California Chapter launch event, click here.

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