The 18 graduates from a recent Building Real Careers in Construction program will all have something unique in common on the construction site: None of them are men.

 

“Women in general are underrepresented, by far, in the trade union,” said John Drew, President and CEO of Action for Boston Community Development, Inc., the program’s host.

 

In fact, women make up less than 3 percent of all construction workers, according to Clare Shepherd, director of LearningWorks.

 

The BRICC classes provide pre-apprenticeship training exclusively for women. Graduates can explore a variety of construction fields for about six weeks before being guided through the process of finding apprenticeships.

 

“For people who don’t have the funds to go to college, to get that ... high-powered career, then I do believe that the construction industry parallels a college education," said Debra Prentice, 44, of Roxbury, a graduate of the program.

However, getting there can take time. “You have to wait until the union starts taking applications … Because of the job situation in Massachusetts, there’s not much construction going on,” said Prentice, who has to wait another year before she can apply.

With the help of the program, Prentice has decided to become an electrician.