Various workforce goals exceeded in building new VA community outpatient clinic

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According to the University of Massachusetts Building Authority, general contractor Suffolk Construction and UMass Chan, UMass Chan Medical School exceeded diversity hiring targets in building the new Community Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) for alumni. fighters at its Worcester campus. The clinic is a partnership between UMass Chan and the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System.

The CBOC was built with a workforce of 27.4% minorities
and 8 percent female, and although it is not mandatory, veterans
accounted for 5 percent of the project workforce.

The UMass Building Authority has workforce participation goals for projects; for the VA clinic, workforce goals were 15.3 percent minority and 6.9 percent female with a combined M / F / VBE (minority, women, and veteran business enterprise) goal of 10 , 4 percent for the construction of the CBOC.

“These goals are set to ensure the equitable participation of diverse businesses and create access to opportunities for a local and diverse workforce,” said Dara Frederick, Business Partner Diversity Manager at Suffolk Construction.

The CBOC, which was officially unveiled at a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, November 8, was built with a workforce of 27.4% minorities and 8% women. Suffolk exceeded the required M / F / VBE participation target of 10.4% with a total of 14% of contracts awarded to M / F / VBE firms.

“Suffolk has made diversity on this project a priority and has found ways to meet and exceed expectations. We met with our business partners months in advance to review their projected workforce and led the conversation on diversity expectations, ”said Frederick.

Suffolk has also benefited from the relationship with its union and community partners. Its partnership with pre-apprenticeship programs such as Building Pathways and Youth Build supports the development of the labor pool for its business partners and future construction trades workforce. When contractors are unable to meet labor needs, Suffolk is able to connect them with the resources needed to secure a skilled and local workforce, helping them to achieve the goals, said Frederick.

“This process gives us a head start with our proactive approach to ensuring diversity on the jobsite and ensuring that our projects accurately reflect the communities in which we build,” said Frederick. “While our process has certainly helped secure a diverse workforce within CBOC, it is not without challenges. Our business partners can sometimes more easily obtain a diverse workforce in certain trades, while in some trades they experience a shortage of minority and female labor. To achieve the M / F / VBE participation objectives, we have implemented a diversity strategy that sets out a commitment for our businesses to engage the participation of M / F / VBE companies. This has enabled us to empower our business partners and ensure our success by achieving 14% M / F / VBE stake, beyond the 10.4% target. We know the barriers small businesses face. It’s not that they can’t do the job, but often they don’t have the capacity. With these big bidding packages, we have to ask ourselves how we can be intentional in creating opportunities at the capacity with which they can operate, ”said Frederick.

The University of Massachusetts Building Authority’s Opportunity Access Committee, which provides resources and assistance to entrepreneurs to meet compliance goals, supported the CBOC project.

“This collaborative effort to achieve workforce diversity goals is of paramount importance to the University of Massachusetts Building Authority and demonstrates that there is a dedicated and dedicated workforce. talented people of color and women who are ready and willing to join the workforce. Said Maggie Drouineaud, Compliance Director at UMBA. “The University of Massachusetts Building Authority has long held that recruiting a construction workforce that reflects regional population not only builds community support for capital investments, but also builds community support for capital investment. smart business practice. Compliance results may look like statistics, but those statistics are the lives of people and the creation of opportunity for minority businesses, people of color, and women.

Fred Taylor, Sales Representative, Carpenters Local 336 and President of the Worcester Branch of the NAACP said, “We are inspired by the fact that UMass has both intended to set diversity goals regarding sub- contractors and labor on this project and to work closely with Suffolk Construction to achieve these goals. This project, like many others, shows that diversity goals can not only be implemented, but also achieved for projects in Worcester. “

Allison Knoff, project manager at Suffolk, worked on the VA building from the start. Part of his job was to qualify companies to bid on certain aspects of the project, then negotiate and award contracts to the myriad of sub-contractors needed to construct the building.

“In this process we of course look at costs and capabilities, but the diversity of the workforce is also a very important factor,” Knoff said. “It’s more than just a good faith effort. We do a lot of outreach with these companies to help increase the participation of women and minorities, which should be the case. “

Related Articles on UMassMed News:
Veterans Affairs and UMass Chan Celebrate Grand Opening of New Community Outpatient Clinic
New VA clinic final bundle placed at UMass medical school ceremony

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