Roundtable Weekly
Commerce Department Announces Voluntary Industry Pledge to Increase Women in Construction Workforce
May 24, 2024

RER Chairman and Suffolk CEO John Fish, above, convened a meeting this week of leading construction company CEOS to sign on to the “Million Women in Construction Community Pledge,” led by U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Gina Raimondo. (UPI, May 21 and ConstructionDive, May 22)

Committed to Workforce Expansion

  • Fish said, “The construction industry continues to face significant labor challenges due to the aging workforce and dwindling number of young people entering the construction field. There is a critical need to attract more talent and diversify our workforce to ensure we have the resources to build our cities and grow our economy.” (Commerce Department news release)
  • He added, “Suffolk is honored and privileged to be one of the first companies to commit to Secretary Raimondo’s inspiring Million Women in Construction Pledge. As an organization that has long been committed to rebuilding the ratio of women in the construction industry, we are proud to play a leadership role in inspiring other organizations to commit to this effort and help position our American workforce for future growth and success.”
  • The Million Women in Construction Community Pledge is a nationwide call to action for the construction industry to commit to bold steps aimed at increasing the number of women in the construction workforce. Secretary Raimondo launched the initiative after participating in The Real Estate Roundtable’s Spring 2023 Meeting. (Roundtable Weekly, April 28, 2023)
  • In addition to Suffolk, other leading construction companies committed to the Pledge include Baker Construction, Gilbane Building Company, McKissack & McKissack, Mortenson, Power Design, and Shawmut Design and Construction.

Call for Greater Industry Participation

Left to Right: RER Chairman John Fish, Commerce Sec. Raimondo, RER President & CEO Jeffrey DeBoer
  • Secretary Raimondo is seeking more industry companies, unions, and training organizations to sign the Pledge. She emphasized the need for the industry to recruit, train, hire, and retain thousands of new and non-traditional workers as the next generation of skilled laborers and leaders—and prepare them to rebuild U.S. infrastructure and supply chains to complement the Federal government’s investment.
  • Secretary Raimondo said, “President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is creating a construction boom all over the country, and with that boom comes a huge increase in jobs and opportunities for workers in construction and the trades. But right now, women make up less than 11% of jobs in construction and only 4% in skilled trades.”
  • She added, “Many of these are good-paying, quality jobs you can get without a college degree, and women deserve equal opportunity for these jobs. I’m calling on everyone—contractors, labor unions, training organizations—to join our Community Pledge to commit to solutions and support proven strategies that help overcome barriers faced by women and underserved communities in construction and the trades.”

For questions about the program or to pledge, email

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