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One of the top questions I get from clients undertaking a construction project is “what is our approach to achieving targeted business and residency goals for diverse and underrepresented firms and social groups?” The best strategy involves proactive outreach, hosting community meetings and pre-bid conferences with prospective diverse firms, as well as putting together an inclusion plan that analyzes the project to identify opportunities for certified diverse firms. Below are the top eight ways to do this on your next constriction project.
8-Point Checklist to Maximize Participation & Inclusion
- Develop An Inclusion Plan
Develop an inclusion plan that lays out methodology, requirements, commitments, and timelines so all stakeholders understand what you are working towards. Commitments could include participation goals for diverse firms working on the project, resident hiring, and apprentice hiring.
- Identify Categories of Work and Define Percentages
Analyze the project to identify categories of work where diverse, resident hiring and apprentice hiring can be attained and define the percentages so that it is a requirement rather than just a goal. Take the State of WisDOT-DBE UCP Directory available to the public and analyze which categories work the certified firms perform and match them with the work categories on your project. This list is integral to understand which firms are diverse to identify opportunities where they can get involved.
- Divide the Project’s Work Categories Into Smaller Tasks
By dividing project work categories into smaller tasks, this allows maximum participation and inclusion. During preconstruction phase, divide up the work into smaller bid packages and team up smaller subcontractors with larger subcontractors to complete the work. This approach also benefits as a coaching and mentoring opportunity for both firms to learn from each other.
- Make the Most Out of Stakeholder Meetings
Use stakeholder meetings to identify and notify prospective diverse firms, residents, and apprentices about the project, work categories, and requirements. Outreach is critical to the success of hitting and exceeding diversity goals.
- Assist in the Certification Process
Assist in the certification process for new and growing diverse firms. Depending on where your business is located, different certifications are available to apply for. Our in-house Diversity and Inclusion expert will assess and analyze which certifications would be applicable and guide in the application and certification process.
- Host Pre-Bid Conferences
Host pre-bid conferences for diverse firms to answer questions, assist in quantity verifications, and scope clarifications. These meetings are a valuable tool for all stakeholders involved to not only give the opportunity to talk through any questions or concerns on the bid documents, but also to make sure that the project is getting the most competitive, qualified bids.
- Advertise Job Opportunities and Solicitation of Bids
Advertise job opportunities and solicitation of bids in publications such as The Daily Reporter. Outreach is integral to having diverse and multiple bids on projects. Proactively call subcontractors to make them aware of upcoming bid opportunities and go through any questions or concerns they may have. This step has significantly increased our subcontractor bids from diverse firms and has aided in JP Cullen hitting TBE goals on projects.
- Produce and distribute reports to all stakeholders that show current and forecast future participation
Regular measurement and reporting keeps the team focused and keeps us accountable to achieve what we set out to do. What gets measured gets done!
Our decades of experience in meeting diversity and inclusion goals on projects tells us that this process works. If you are not sure where to start, engage experts in your communities. There are many firms that can help you navigate through this process when it comes to creating policies and plans, contract compliance, and outreach recruiting and retention.
If you are interested in talking through how to increase your diversity goals, send me an email email@example.com and I would be happy to talk and connect you to resources that can help you put together a successful diversity and inclusion program for your construction project.