Arizona State’s School of Construction Woos Female Students

Arizona State University school officials are applauding the efforts of its new recruiter, Melissa Luna. Thanks in part to Luna’s efforts, the school’s Del E. Webb School of Construction will see a higher enrollment of female construction students — 14 out of 98 total — when classes resume for the fall semester.

Luna was hired after the school received a $200,000 donation from Jeff Ehret, alumnus and president of The PENTA Building Group in Las Vegas.

Luna’s new recruiting job takes her to career fairs at high schools and trade schools, in addition to time meeting with school counselors to update them on construction careers.

She tells candidates they will be more marketable “because the industry is looking for more females.”

Current Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that about 9.5% of construction workers are women, compared to about 10.5% in 1997.

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Previously, women accounted for less than 10% of students in the construction department, according to The Arizona Republic. This semester, the school will see that number jump to 14%, an all-time high.

In addition, 13 of the 14 are first-time college freshmen (typically, only four or five females enter the school as freshmen). Eight of these 14 students received grants specifically set aside for women.

Luna says her job is working well because it helps “to have a face that they can relate to” as she works to bridge the gender divide.

This seems to be a better method than ASU’s previous strategy. An ASU school official noted that the school’s previous lack of an official recruiting budget meant they “just left the door open and hoped that people would come in.”

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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