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Improving Equity in the Construction Workforce

May 1, 2024

Anticipated construction job growth spurred by the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and overall economic trends may serve as an opportunity for the construction industry to build a more representative and equitable workforce.

Westat recently collaborated with the Urban Institute to prepare a report and series of briefs on the current construction workforce and potential strategies for improving the recruitment and retention of workers from underrepresented groups:


Issue Briefs:

The study, conducted for the Department of Labor’s Chief Evaluation Office and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, found that:

  • Nationally, onsite construction occupations employ a substantially lower percentage of women, Asian workers, and Black or African American workers compared to occupations with similar job requirements.
  • While apprenticeship pathways may help improve representation, investing in program-provided supports like childcare and fairer workplace practices may be more promising for reducing barriers and retaining a diverse workforce.

Westat staff (formerly of Insight Policy Research) who contributed to this work include Scott Cody, MPP, Heinrich Hock, PhD, Mackenzie Michaels, MS, Kate Munkacsy, Victoria Perez-Zetune, PhD, Breanna Wakar, MA, and Rikki Welch, MA.


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