HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — A paid internship program in North Carolina aims to attract more women to the construction field. 

What You Need To Know

  • A paid internship at Samet Corporation aims to attract women to construction

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, women made up 11% of the construction workforce

  • Samet Corporations hosts women roundtables for employees, which have brought changes to policies

Samet Corporation, a general contractor operating in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, is showing women the office and field jobs in the industry.

Caroline Murphy, a UNC graduate with degrees in political science and economics, is one of the 41 interns participating in the program this year. 

“This is totally out of my comfort zone. Totally different than what I’ve done before,” Murphy said. 

Earlier this summer, she worked at the site of the future trade High School in Huntersville, reviewing schedules and ensuring subcontractor submittals matched project requirements. 

She worked in an office and visited the job site frequently where she interacted with subcontractors working on the building. 

Murphy worked alongside Samet’s first female superintendent, Jennifer Price. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, women made up 11% of the construction workforce. 

From leadership to field and project management, men make up nearly 80% of employees at Samet. Samet said the company is committed to increasing women representation. 

“I have never felt hindered by my gender. I feel very supported and very taken care of and have a whole cheerleading squad here, which I absolutely love and I cheer these guys on the same way they cheer me on,” Price said. 

Murphy is one of the six women participating in the company’s internship.

“We want everybody that experiences the aftermath of the industry to be part of the industry,” Murphy said. 

The company hosts women roundtables for employees to share their experiences.

“While there are challenges, they want to hear what they are, and they want to address them,” Murphy said. 

Price said the roundtables this spring already brought some changes, including the general contractor offering paid maternity and paternity leave, which also covers fostering and adoption. 

“It’s something not really seen in the industry,” Price said. 

Murphy starts law school this fall. After this internship, she’s considering focusing on construction law. 

“If I stay in construction, [it] is great field experience. If I don’t stay in construction, everything I’m learning translates well into different industries, and I think it will, ultimately, will make a better attorney,” Murphy said. 

Murphy plans to return to work at Samet during winter break. 

Other interns come from universities, including App State, N.C. State, East Carolina University and North Carolina A&T State University. 

Samet attends college career fairs around the state to attract more women to construction and partner with women-driven organizations in construction.