Pennoni Perspective Volume 23 • Issue 1 • Spring 2019 - Page 27

In the United States, nearly half of the labor force are women, however Environmental Financial Consulting Group (EFCG) data shows AEC firms only have an overall average of 27% women. Furthermore within the same study, there is a national average of 22% women in engineering positions. As an industry, we know how important it is to continue to encourage young women to explore STEM opportunities to help combat both the inequality and the ongoing talent war. As a firm, we still have space to improve, however we are seeing a positive change in the number of young women joining Pennoni. Last year, 22% of Pennoni employees were women. We have taken steps to promote growth for not only women, but all our employees. Pennoni encourages career advancement through our two career tracks, project management and technical excellence. We ran our annual Foundations of Project Management in- house training program from January through April 2018. Of the 22 employees trained and graduated from program, 32% of them were female. Our current employees are encouraged to not only be members of organizations supporting diversity and inclusion, but many have taken on leadership roles, spoken at large conferences, and participated in organized events promoting diversity within the workforce. Organizations our employees are involved with include Society of Women Engineers, WTS International, Society of Women Environmental Professionals, National Society of Black Engineers, Engineers Without Borders, and more. Pennoni is currently sponsoring two of our female leaders through a yearlong leadership development program called EXCEL, hosted by The Leader’s Edge. EXCEL develops the critical skills that valued leaders need in order to successfully navigate their business environment, preparing them to advance to the next step in their organization. Danielle Schroeder (pictured third from the right) with fellow engineers in our Philadelphia, PA transportation group Danielle Schroeder, EIT, is an Associate Engineer in our Philadelphia, PA office. “I have an opportunity to work for and with several women, something not many people in our profession can say. My direct supervisor is a woman; my division manager is a woman, and one of only four women with the title of AVP in Pennoni; and, through my involvement with our bridge inspection practice, I get to work with another of our female VPs. Although I don’t work with all of them on a daily basis, it is encouraging to have these women to look up to as roles models. Just as important as having female role models in leadership positions, though, is having male allies that support the advancement of women in our profession. We need all stakeholders to be part of the conversation to move forward. I am also lucky that Pennoni promotes my involvement in professional organizations like the Society of Women Engineers, where I learn about how to promote diversity and foster inclusion in the workplace while attending conferences, webinars, and other events. I volunteer at STEM outreach events and teach akids as young as kindergarten about the different fields of engineering and how awesome my job is! It’s important to me because I didn’t learn what engineering was until my junior year of high school. My volunteering serves a dual purpose to show young women to not let being a minority in the STEM fields deter them from pursing their interests.” P E N N O N I | 27