MIAMI (CBSMiami) – CBS4 is celebrating Women’s History Month throughout March by shining a spotlight on women shattering the glass ceiling in our community.
This week is “Women in Construction Week,” a time to recognize the roughly 1 million women employed throughout the construction industry in the US.READ MORE: Retired Police Major Explains How Miami-Dade Officers Are Trained Not To Mix Up Handgun & Taser
For Jorgetzy Garaban, it’s all about safety first. She oversees safety on construction sites all over South Florida for current builders.
“I love construction. Construction is so dynamic,” Garaban said. “You don’t have the same day every day. Everything is different.”
But Garaban didn’t start out in construction.
She was a lawyer in Venezuela, but came to the US in 2016 in search of a safer life for her and her two children.
“New country. New language. Make something completely different with my work. (It) was really, really hard. But when I see my kids and the opportunity for them to grow up here with freedom, that was my motivation,” Garaban said.
So, she turned a childhood interest in civil engineering, into a career in construction.
“I realized that I could combine my career as a lawyer with my dream to be in construction. Because the regulations you have to follow in construction, it’s very similar to the process in Venezuela,” she said.
Women like Garaban make up roughly 10 percent of the construction industry in the United States.READ MORE: With J&J's Single-Shot Paused, Medical Expert Says People Shouldn’t ‘Try To Skimp At This Stage’ When It Comes To 2nd Dose Of Pfizer Or Moderna
Garaban is among the 1.1 million women employed in construction nationwide.
As is Carolina Herrera.
“It’s a male-dominated industry. And when I started 16 years ago, there was not a lot of women, not only in senior positions, or in the field. But things have changed,” Herrera told CBS4 Anchor Lauren Pastrana. “And I think that’s because Lennar has always strived to be diverse with their workforce and open the doors. Not think of the glass ceiling. But give the opportunity for those who want to work hard.”
Herrera is also an immigrant with a legal background. She came to the US from Colombia, where she studied as an attorney.
Now, she is the Vice President of Land Acquisition with Lennar, one of the leading home builders in the country.
“I started as a temporary employee, an administrative assistant in the construction department,” she explained. “And in 16 years, I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to grow within the company and do many different things.”
Herrera says construction may be seen as a man’s job, but women shouldn’t let that stop them from pursuing their dreams.
“You get what you put in. It starts from within and not thinking of the barriers, but the opportunities and putting in the work. Not being afraid of the many distractions and responsibilities we have as mothers or sisters or wives. I think it’s believing in yourself,” she said.MORE NEWS: 'Bed Tax' Change Backed In Florida House
As the past president of the Builders Association of South Florida, Herrera encourages women to join these types of organizations as they are a valuable resource for networking in the industry.