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Women building foundations today for construction education tomorrow

Few and far between are women in construction in San Diego. Even nationwide, the percentages are small. Overall, women make up 12 percent of the construction industry, with the bulk of the jobs in the real estate broker and agent fields. When it comes to other major fields, the numbers are fewer. In construction management, women hold 6.4 percent of the jobs, while in labor they have 3.2 percent.

All these statistics make Sherry Yarbrough's achievements even more impressive. For almost eight years, Yarbrough has been executive director of Associated Builders and Contractors Apprenticeship Training Trust in Poway. ABC offers apprenticeship and craft training in the trades of Electrical, Plumbing, Pipefitting, Sheet Metal/HVAC and Electronic Systems Technician, in addition to journeyman, supervisory and management training. In view of the shortage of skilled workers, many contractors are turning to ABC to provide more training to new and existing employees and to help them gain the requisite skills for success in the industry.

Sherry Yarbrough

Most of her professional life has been devoted to construction education, specifically working in apprenticeship and craft training. As executive director for the ABC San Diego Training Trust, she oversees the training of more than 700 apprentices and trainees and the maintenance of a 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art training facility.

Most recently, the NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) Education Foundation (NEF) installed Yarbrough as its president at the organization's Annual Board of Trustees Meeting.

The role of president of the NAWIC Education Foundation is an appropriate one for Yarbrough. A long-time education advocate, she has a bachelor's degree in business and economics and was a certified teacher. The statistics say the construction industry will need 1 million new workers in the next five years, so Yarbrough's positions as executive director of ABC San Diego and president of NEF work well together. With these dual roles overlapping in so many areas, her natural inclination is to address the educational needs that she knows the construction industry has now and in the future.

ABC can help companies address these critical skilled training needs. Although contractors have various reasons for training their employees, the payoff on training is still the same: Greater productivity and performance, safer workers, improved retention, leadership development, reduced operating cost and much more. An investment in training is an investment in the future of your company. For more information, call (858) 513-4700 or go to www.abcsd.org.

Submitted by Nicole N. Piner, director of communications and workforce development for ABC San Diego Training Trust

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