Hope Renovations: Building New Lives In Construction


Charlotte, N.C. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The face of construction is changing. Today more women are putting on a hard hat and tool belt and joining the construction industry. Women now make up ten percent of the industry. That number has doubled in the last decade, but only four percent of those work in the trades like carpentry, plumbing and electrical. Now one woman is making it her mission to bridge the gap and bring more women into the field while also helping others in need.

Armed with hammers, drills and saws these women are changing the construction industry.

“When you start doing something that you are not expected to be able to do, there is definitely an empowerment that happens,” said Nora El-Khouri Spencer, MSW, GC, CAPS, Hope Renovations Founder & CEO.

It’s Nora El-Khouri Spencer’s goal to give women the confidence to pursue high-paying – mostly male dominated jobs.

“When you run that power tool for the first time and you realize, number one, it’s not that hard, and number two, it feels awesome to have that kind of power and to be able to create with it. Watching that happen is, it’s really, miraculous,” said Spencer.

Nora started googling DYI repairs and fell in love with the feeling. She left her fortune 500 human resources job and opened the non-profit Hope Renovations in North Carolina.

She wanted to give people like 18-year-old Clair a way to quickly be educated in a field that would give her a life-sustaining and fulfilling career

“If you’re just an entry level person, you can get up to 60 and 70,000 a year, which is like double what I’m making,” said Clair.

For Lucia Foster, it’s a second chance after long covid forced her to end her career at Duke University.

“The idea that I could learn tangible skills and in a network of support where I really could be not just encouraged to succeed but lifted up,” explained Foster.

Another part of the mission; the students and graduates do repairs and renovations to help seniors age in place.

“There’s an intention to lift women up and help us engage in a way that’s respectful and helps everyone,” explained Foster.

“We always say at Hope Renovations, if you can see it, you can be it,” said Spencer.

The program lasts for nine weeks and is completely free and it also offers a living stipend to participants. Construction services are offered on a sliding scale so they can serve clients no matter their income. Their two-million-dollar budget comes from donors, grants, and corporate partners. Hope Renovations also just became one of seven organizations selected for the US Department of Labors Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations grant worth more than 700 thousand dollars.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Bob Walko, Editor, Matt Goldschmidt, Photographer

To receive a free weekly email on Smart Living from Ivanhoe, sign up at:  http://www.ivanhoe.com/ftk