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The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is sponsoring a free informational conference that will introduce women to careers in the construction industry. The event on March 31, 2004, will include several hands-on demonstrations and a panel discussion with women in the industry. Opportunity Downtown: Women Working will be held at Pace University in Lower Manhattan from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Governor George E. Pataki said, "This conference will help raise awareness among women about the numerous opportunities in the construction industry, as well as opportunities to help in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. I encourage all women who are interested in exploring the construction trade and learning more about the future of Lower Manhattan to participate in this exciting event." Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, "Women own approximately 7% of construction businesses in the United States, and the greatest growth in the number of women-owned firms is seen in construction industry according to the Center for Women's Business Research. In New York City, the trends are even more dramatic -- half of those applying for the NYC Department of Small Business Services' Locally Based Enterprise program are woman-owned construction firms, and this conference will provide immeasurable hands on experience to women looking for opportunities in the Lower Manhattan area." The hands on demonstrations will represent the following trades: painting, carpentry, tile-setting, plumbing and electrical careers. Panelists are scheduled to share their experiences in the construction trades industry along with industry requirements, challenges and benefits of joining a pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship program. LMDC will also provide an overview of the rebuilding in Lower Manhattan and the construction trades jobs that will result from this revitalization. John C. Whitehead, LMDC Chairman, said, "Women have worked hard to advance in the workforce and this is an excellent opportunity to participate in one of the largest rebuilding efforts in the history of New York. Of special interest will be the wide range of good paying jobs with excellent benefits, some of which require little experience to those in more technical trades, such as carpentry, plumbing and electrical work, which will be supported by extensive pre-apprenticeship and full apprenticeship programs. This is a not-to-be-missed, free conference for women to consider new careers in the construction industry." Kevin M. Rampe, President LMDC said, "This event will serve as a great opportunity for women looking for a new career path or for women exploring a new beginning in the job force. I encourage them to take advantage of this conference and speak first hand to the exceptional individuals that will be there to answer questions about construction and the construction trades." Patricia Jones, Executive Director of Nontraditional Employment for Women said, "We have been an enthusiastic supporter of this event because we see it as a wonderful opportunity to introduce a large number of women to the many types of jobs available in the construction trades. Most women have little, if any, awareness of the trades as possible careers. Yet the women who enter this field can earn substantial salaries and benefits. Events like this can only help our mission to help increase the number of women in the construction industry." NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund President Kathy Rodgers said, "For too long, women have been shut out of good-paying jobs in the construction trades. This conference is an important step towards knocking down those barriers, and rebuilding New York in a fashion that will be an example to the world." The event is in cooperation with the City and State of New York, Women's Bureau, Nontraditional Employment for Women, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, Building Trade Employer's Association and the General Contractors Association. RSVP's can be made by mailing, faxing or e-mailing the registration form found at www.RenewNYC.com. LMDC is also collaborating with all of the agencies involved in the rebuilding, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the New York State Department of Transportation, and Silverstein Properties to ensure that minorities and women participate in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. This event and the Opportunity Downtown conference for minority- and women-owned businesses in January are two examples of these efforts.