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When and Where Will the 2023 Conference Be Held?
The 2023 annual conference of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is scheduled for August 9-12 in Portland, Oregon. This will be NAWIC’s 68th annual conference. NAWIC’s stated purpose is to strengthen and amplify the success of women in the construction industry, and its annual conference plays an important role in carrying out that mission.
To join NAWIC, you must be a woman working in some capacity in the construction industry for 20 or more hours per week. That includes project management, administrative, legal, insurance, or financial work or employment in any of the construction trades. The only other requirement to join as a voting member is to hold membership in one of NAWIC’s chapters. Currently, there are more than 115 chapters spread across 47 states, divided into eight regions: Northeast, South Atlantic, Southeast, North Central, Midwest, South Central, Pacific Northwest, and Pacific Southwest. Women who do not meet the criteria for voting membership may join NAWIC as nonvoting members.
Every year, the annual NAWIC conference highlights topics of interest and importance to its members, all related to a central theme. The 2023 conference theme is Many Paths, One Mission. As of this writing, specific session topics have not yet been announced.
The 2022 conference theme was Leading Builders, Building Leaders. It addressed topics such as “Developing Resilient and Fearlessly Authentic Leaders” and “Immersive Inclusion: Accelerating Our People Strategy.”
How Women Benefit from NAWIC Membership
New NAWIC members instantly gain access to a large network of women at various career stages, including construction industry experts. NAWIC members also have access to a variety of professional opportunities, such as career and job leads, mentoring, and possible involvement in community outreach programs. They benefit from the legislative and legal updates NAWIC makes available to its members and from NAWIC’s national and local resource networks and connections to other industry and professional associations.
Additionally, NAWIC offers multiple educational opportunities for members to develop their leadership, management, and public speaking skills. Members can attend training and seminars at NAWIC’s national and regional events and stay abreast of industry developments. They can pursue professional certifications, get help charting a career path, and apply for scholarships and educational opportunities offered by the NAWIC Education Foundation and the NAWIC Founders’ Scholarship Foundation.
How Employers Benefit from Supporting Employees’ NAWIC Membership
Employers can help build a stronger construction industry by supporting their female workers’ membership in NAWIC. That support can be in the form of paying NAWIC membership dues for employees and/or giving employees paid time off to attend NAWIC conferences and other events.
NAWIC members enrich the companies they work for by sharing what they learn through NAWIC about new construction skills and technological advances. They also bring a high degree of professionalism to the workplace. And they can assist in recruiting, onboarding, and mentoring women who are new to construction.
The knowledge, cultural values, and professionalism that NAWIC members bring to the organizations that hire and employ them is a great advantage in construction bonding. Surety bonds are the lifeblood of the construction companies and are a required purchase for public works projects subject to the Federal Miller Act or any state-level “Little Miller” acts. An increasing number of private project owners also require surety bonds from their contractors.
Building Bonding Capacity
An educated workforce committed to excellence is key to operating in a safe, lawful, and ethical manner, which is what prevents claims against construction bonds. Women join NAWIC because they have such a commitment and bring that same commitment to their daily work.
One of the key things that surety bond underwriters look for in a bond applicant is a low likelihood of claims being incurred. It stands to reason that an organization that supports women in construction and values their contributions is not as likely as some to act in an unlawful or unethical manner that causes clients financial harm. An organization considered to be a low risk when it comes to incurring claims and is financially strong and stable should have no trouble getting approved for construction bonds and building its bonding capacity over time.
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