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JP Cullen’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Sean Cullen

JP Cullen is committed to building an inclusive workplace welcoming to people of all backgrounds. This commitment is woven into our mission statement and values which believe that our people are our greatest assets. It is important for us to represent the communities we are building for.

JP Cullen’s Diversity & Inclusion program is centered around mentoring, teaching, and guiding the general contractors, subcontractor, and supplier firms in our communities. Our program started back in 1998 offering workshops on Lean production philosophies, crew size analysis, material procurement and logistics, and organizational leadership.

JP Cullen proactively seeks to do business with diverse suppliers and contractors. Our program has resulted in exceeding our inclusivity goals on over 20 projects in Milwaukee and Madison and $24 million paid to diverse firms in the last five years alone. We participate in community job fairs and partner with firms such as Big Step, Prism Technical, Cross Management, and community leaders to ensure we are reaching as many individuals as possible. “JP Cullen, with assistance from WRTP/BIG STEP, not only met the RPP requirements, but provided the City of Milwaukee residents with quality, family sustaining jobs and helping develop skill sets to further their careers in the construction industry,” stated Tom Barrett, Former Mayor of the City of Milwaukee.

Our most recent success was at the Milwaukee Bucks Training Center. Our goals were: 25% minority firm participation, 25% Milwaukee County residents participation, and 15% apprentice participation. Each of these goals were exceeded with 28% minority firm participation, 28.8% Milwaukee County resident participation, and 22.1% apprentice participation. These efforts were recognized when WRTP/BIG STEP awarded JP Cullen the  Employer Project Partnership Award for our commitment to build a more diverse qualified workforce in construction, as well as the  Diversity Award from Froedtert Health.

Our Pledge to Increase Diversity

Goals without action are just wishes. A Diversity & Inclusion plan is top priority for JP Cullen; that is why we have decided to take steps in making measurable and accountable goals. We have signed a pledge with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) to increase diverse management by 25% and increase total employment of African American/Hispanic by 15% by 2025.

In order to achieve these goals, we have created a Diversity Committee that is leading the efforts to create a plan where JP Cullen is including diversity in all different areas of our company including hiring, training, and retaining. This committee is lead by our Milwaukee Division Manager, Shannon Metoxen. Shannon is a member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin and also on the Associated General Contractors of America Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee.

Women Wear Hardhats Too

With only an estimated 9.9% of the construction industry made up of women, the importance of building up women into leadership roles is crucial and a mission that JP Cullen has set out on.

Our commitment to diversity starts with our diverse ownership and executive group creating an inclusive culture in our offices and our jobsites. Recently, we welcomed our first female Co-President, Jeannie Cullen Schultz and this past year, Jeannie and her sister, Laura Cullen, became the first female owners in the firm’s history. This is a true representation of JP Cullen taking steps in reducing the gender gap in the construction industry.

In order to further educate and empower our female employees, we created an internal women’s group with a focus on leadership development, interpersonal networking, communication, conflict resolution, and setting and reaching goals. The group is open to all JP Cullen staff, no matter the gender, and includes staff in all different areas of our company from our Co-President to our employees in the field.

Operation Fresh Start

Since 1970, Operation Fresh Start (OFS) has empowered more than 8,000 emerging adults to earn their high school diploma, driver’s license, certifications in the construction and conservation fields, and gain college/career readiness skills.

Currently, two students and supervisors are working with us, providing them with safety training and hands-on experience to prepare them for a construction career with the goal of employment skills and landing a full-time job. One graduate was recently hired as a carpenter apprentice within JP Cullen.



8-Point Checklist to Maximize Participation & Inclusion On Jobsites

  1. Develop an inclusion plan that lays out methodology, requirements, commitments, and timelines.
  2. 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.
  3. Divide project requirements into smaller tasks to permit maximum participation and inclusion.
  4. Use stakeholder meetings to identify and notify prospective diverse firms, residents, and apprentices about the project, work categories, and requirements.
  5. Assist in the certification process for any qualified diverse firm.
  6. Host pre-bid conferences for diverse firms to answer questions, assist in quantity verifications and scope clarifications.
  7. Advertise job opportunities and solicitation of bids in publications such as The Daily Reporter.

JP Cullen is extremely proud of exceeding diversity goals on a multitude of projects. Our Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Luis Belmontes, has done an excellent job working with our clients, subcontractors, and suppliers to make sure we have inclusive jobsites. If you are interested in talking through how to increase your diversity goals, send me an email and I would be happy to talk through this subject with you.

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