We are committed to lifting up diverse businesses that are underrepresented.
Public construction projects include requirements for hiring a percentage of businesses that are certified as a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) or Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program (MWBE).
The designation may differ depending on the location or institution, but it essentially means businesses with ownership that’s at least 51 percent woman, minority, or service-disabled veteran.
Along with striving to help our clients meet their diverse hiring goals, we also set our own aggressive goals and mentor underrepresented firms so that they can attain their certification and enter the arena with the support they need to excel.
It’s a privilege to invest back into the communities we serve.
Under Forth Worth ISD’s $750 Million Bond Program, we’re overseeing renovations to 17 schools. The goal set forth by the district is for 25 percent of work on the prime and subcontractor level to be done by HUBs.
Our own internal goal is 45 percent, and we encourage general contractors to meet 45 percent MWBE on the subcontractor level.
For us, that applies to hard construction budgets and the professional services side, meaning any third-party consultant that is not directly related to construction like mechanical engineering or plumbing.
We’ve also analyzed the City of Fort Worth’s 2020 Disparity Study, which breaks down the pool of available MWBEs in the area by race and gender.
This research revealed that in most cases, we’re capturing nearly the entire percentage of the available firms.
“We try to provide everyone, especially these smaller, underrepresented businesses, the opportunity to provide their services to every campus in this bond program.”
Many firms that meet the qualifications for certification face barriers that can prevent them from attaining certification or succeeding once they do, whether it’s being unfamiliar with the process to being overlooked for jobs.
To combat this, we’ve developed an outreach program with a dedicated staffer who connects with the firms, walks them through the process of getting certified and follows up with them to offer additional training or help with tasks like billing.
With the Fort Worth ISD program, all of the projects were Construction Manager At-Risk (CMAR), which allows for greater involvement in selecting subcontractors and an opportunity to advocate for these firms directly.
In some cases, we pair these firms with more established contractors through joint venture partnerships, so they get on-the-ground experience with guidance that allows them to build up their bonding capacity.
This support is critical to foster a more robust, diverse ecosystem that better represents the communities we serve.