GroundBreak Carolinas is launching a new series of short guest commentaries on important topics like workforce development, safety and the economy. Our first contributor is Demi Knight Clark, a former, long-time residential construction executive and founder of “She Built This City,” a Charlotte-based non-profit solely dedicated to “Sparking interest in construction and maker trades for career-choosing women and girls, 9-17.”
What is She Built This City doing to “sell” the construction industry?”
My name is Demi Knight Clark. I spent 20 years climbing the corporate ladder in construction. My mantra in a male-dominated industry? Be cleaner, faster, stronger, better. When I got the top job, I realized I was alone. Time for me to ignite a spark for gender equity.
She Built This City – empowering women of all ages in construction (tagline: united we spark) – was built this year. Only 5 percent of the Charlotte construction industry is comprised of women. In addition, 100,000 trade jobs are needed in the Queen City by 2028 – positions we don’t have the labor to fill. She Built This City’s mission? Solving THAT labor shortage by closing the gender EQUITY gap in construction.
We ignite the equity sparks by introducing construction concepts as young as age 9 and as old as they choose! We do this through scholarship-based trade workshops, trainings, camps and clubs. Girls 9-14 learn fundamental “hammer & drill” skills alongside 2028 skills in our camps and clubs – such as operating drones for high-rise jobsite inspections. In our women’s programming, we host the Women@Work Trade Circle – monthly meetings that cross multiple industries and associations to help “close the gap” and solve the labor shortage. Twice a year, we host the Women@Work Trade Expo – showcasing jobs, apprenticeships, and internship opportunities with top companies in the Carolinas; as well as a podcast, live demonstrations & onsite classes.
For more information about She Built This City visit ww.shebuiltthiscity.org. There are many ways companies can support what She Built This City is doing, including Corporate Partnerships (various sponsor levels available).