The labor shortage is a continuing challenge for all facets of the glass and glazing industry. On International Women’s Day, which coincides with the National Association of Women in Construction’s (NAWIC) Women in Construction Week, women in the industry reflect on women’s role in the industry and how companies can appeal to the younger generation.
To celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, USGlass is highlighting just some of the women in the industry and their thoughts on why women are a valuable asset to the industry and how to get women more involved.
USGlass will continue to feature women in the industry throughout the next week.
With 20 years of glass industry experience, Janice Yglesias, executive director of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), has witnessed the growth of women in the industry.
“Compared to 15 or 20 years ago, I definitely see more women at industry events and engaged in higher-level roles within companies and the industry associations,” she says.
Yglesias says that women offer the overall workforce a different perspective and a degree of diversity that helps bring new ideas to the forefront. She believes that women should consider a career in the glass industry because of the qualities of its people.
“The people in this industry are wonderful – so willing to share their knowledge, expertise and experience; plus, they’re friendly and welcoming,” she says. “It’s a great learning environment ripe for innovation and opportunity.”
According to Yglesias, the industry could benefit from stronger outreach to recruit the next generation into its workforce.
“For women in particular, communicating the congenial work environment that pervades our industry, the accessibility of mentoring and guidance and the achievements of successful women throughout the industry could encourage greater involvement,” she says.
Linetec marketing manager Tammy Schroeder has been in the glass industry for 20 years.
“To be successful in life, you need to love what you do. When I started at Linetec I remember being told ‘we make buildings beautiful.’ I recall thinking that sounded like a great place to work,” she says. “…The people I work with day in and day out take pride in contributing to the appearance, performance and longevity of our customers’ products. I find it a very rewarding industry to work in.”
Bringing new ideas, products and services to the industry is exciting for Schroeder.
“I’m inspired by today’s creative building designs as they incorporate colorful and textured finishes, curved panels of metal and glass, and ever-larger openings for people to enjoy the daylighting and the views,” she says.
According to Schroeder, the acceptance of women in the building industry is making notable strides each year.
“The architectural glass and metals industry offers so many opportunities for women. The industry is better, stronger and smarter when it listens to a variety of voices,” she says. “New voices may present unique perspectives with a different approach, and fresh ideas to projects and developments.”
Schroeder says that, according to ConstructConnect, about 21 percent of employees in the construction and glass industry were aged 55 or older in 2018, compared to just 9 percent who were 24 or younger.
“Workers in architecture are aging out and retiring at a faster rate than the younger generation is coming in. Tech-savvy millennials aren’t flocking to careers in architecture as past generation have,” she explains. “As our industry seeks to meet growing demand, educators and businesses need to encourage and inspire women to become involved. It’s great to see the STEM programs introducing girls to science, technology, engineering and math at young ages.”
She says that Linetec partners with local middle schools, high schools and technical programs to give students a better understanding of careers in manufacturing.
“This showcases, to both females and males, education and career opportunities in welding, fabricating, machining, engineering and manufacturing trades,” says Schroeder. “I’m hopeful that this type of experience and inclusivity will generate the well-rounded, curious minds we need to lead the future of our industry.”