Original Article by GAF

Training women in roofing and other trades can help strengthen the US economy by addressing the country's massive skilled labor shortage. On an individual level, skilled trade training can help improve women's lives.

"I was stuck doing a nine-to-five. I wasn't saving, I was just trying to survive," says Shakyra Worley. "One day, I had an epiphany: I need more for myself. I need to get out from being stuck."

So, Shakyra enrolled in Edison Job Corps in New Jersey—a free, nationwide career training and education program for 16- through 24-year-olds—to learn carpentry. Through the Edison Job Corps program, she participated in the GAF Roofing Academy and learned the necessary skills to enter into the roofing trade.

Learning a trade has helped Shakyra face her goals and challenges. She says it's also helped her be more confident, giving her life "more 'main character' energy."

More Women Are Needed in the Industry
The construction industry will be short 546,000 workers in 2023. The GAF Roofing Academy—started in January 2020—aims to address this challenge.

"We're training people from groups who typically wouldn't be in the industry to come in and fill the labor need," says Kimberly Santiago, training manager for GAF Roofing Academy. To date, more than 2,000 roofing students have been trained, with a 60% job placement rate after graduation.

Increasing the number of women in roofing—a long-time male-dominated industry—is a goal for GAF. Women account for 46.8% of the US labor force, according to the US Department of Labor, but Kimberly notes only 3% of roofers are women. In contrast, "last year, women made up 13% of the Roofing Academy participants," she says. "When we bring strong, capable women into roofing, we diversify the field, bring different perspectives, and further the industry as a whole."