Untapped Resources, Untapped Labor Pool: Using Federal Highway Funds to Prepare Women for Careers in Construction

At a Glance

One way to improve women's economic security is creating sustainable pathways into construction careers—an industry where women are underrepresented. This briefing highlights how Maryland and Oregon are improving diversity in the highway construction workforce.

Women are underrepresented in highway, street, and bridge construction. Creating sustainable pathways into construction careers fills critical hiring needs for industry while improving economic security for women, as these jobs typically provide family-supporting wages with good benefits. These positions are often part of established career pathways, providing women with opportunities for continued advancement. Activities to improve women’s recruitment and retention in skilled construction jobs are widely known, but dedicated funding for such activities is scarce. Federal highway funding offers states a stable resource that can support activities that improve women’s entry into and success in the construction trades. This briefing highlights examples of how two states, Maryland and Oregon, are using this funding to improve diversity in the highway construction workforce.