Why and How AGC is Working to Make the Industry More Diverse

Shea De Lutis
January 26, 2024|



As one of only two women to serve as a national officer for AGC of America during the past 105 years, I am acutely aware of the fact we have a long way to go to make our industry more diverse and more inclusive. That is precisely why the association is working so hard to help member firms recruit, retain and support a new generation of more diverse workers and leaders.

We are doing this because to few women work in the construction industry. While we make up half of the U.S. workforce, we are only 11 percent of this industry. In addition, while Black Americans are 13 percent of the total workforce, they represent only 7 percent of construction professionals. This is a significant problem for an industry where 88 percent of firms currently hiring employees report having a difficult time finding enough people.

The bottom line is we will never solve the construction industry’s workforce challenges if we fail to recruit men and women who have not traditionally participated in construction. This is why AGC has been leading an effort to further diversify our industry and has launched a series of initiative designed to help the industry meet this goal.

AGC has compiled a comprehensive, research-based business case that documents the many safety, innovation and financial benefits that construction firms achieve when they diversify their ranks. We have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in targeted digital advertising efforts designed to reach underrepresented workers and encourage them to pursue high-paying construction careers.

Nearly 1,000 firms are using AGC’s Culture of CARE program to help make their jobsites more welcoming and inclusive. The program includes a range of tools and resources that can be used at specific jobsites to make sure the new workers we recruit feel welcome and valued. Not only does this program help with supporting our efforts to diversify the industry, but it is also proving to be a very effective recruiting tool. If your firm hasn’t taken the Culture of CARE pledge yet, visit BuildCulture.org and do so now.

AGC has also created a toolkit for emerging contractors to assist emerging and minority-owned construction firms grow from startup to success. Our measures are designed to complement the impactful work being done by the AGC chapters across the country.

We are doing all this not only because it is the right thing to do, but it is also the smart thing to do. Our nation’s workforce is getting more diverse by the year, which is one of our country’s greatest strengths. To keep pace with the demands for construction, our industry must become equally diverse. By harnessing the collective power of general contractors, specialty contractors, subcontractors and suppliers and through intentional actions, we can attract, retail and develop the best talent for our industry.

We are proud of our industry’s role in building vibrant communities across the country. Now we are working to ensure we build an industry that is as strong and varied as the communities we serve and the country we call home.

Shea De Lutis is director of federal affairs at Clark Construction Group, LLC, a senior advisor at Carta Advisors and serves as national board treasurer for the Associated General Contractors of America.



About the Author: Shea De Lutis

Shea De Lutis
Shea De Lutis is director of federal affairs at Clark Construction Group, LLC, a senior advisor at Carta Advisors and serves as national board treasurer for the Associated General Contractors of America.

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