Construction Inclusion Week Features Speakers and Activities
Kathy Bretsch
/ Categories: Campus Renewal Refresh
Nov 2023

Construction Inclusion Week Features Speakers and Activities

October 2023 - “I am different, just like you” was a theme of the third annual Construction Inclusion Week on the Campus Renewal Project, a week of daily activities to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the construction industry. The week focused on “calling people in” and centered around recognizing that everyone is diverse.

One activity to connect workers had them writing a fact about themselves on colorful paper and hanging it on a wall at the construction site entrance. Messages such as I Love My Family, Kidney Transplant, I Am a Plumber, and I Love the Outdoors were a way to start conversations. Walking past the messages every morning served as a reminder that people are more alike than different.

“We have a diverse workforce on Campus Renewal, but when it comes down to it, people have more in common than they know,” says Christopher Dean, BJC Campus Renewal project executive. “A message such as ‘I have three kids’ can start a conversation between people who don’t think they have anything in common.”

Joe Lewandowski, project director for McCarthy Building Companies, says, “Inclusion Week is a really big deal around here.  We have one of the largest, most diverse workforces on the Campus Renewal Project, but assembling a large group of diverse individuals is only the first step toward building an inclusive culture at the project.”

Daily themes included Commitment and Accountability, Belonging, Supplier Diversity, Workplace Culture, and Community Engagement.

Charles Henson, BJC Planning, Design and Construction senior diversity manager, applauds the industry-wide efforts to recognize the challenges and take meaningful steps to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.   “We first need to know that the challenges exist. Then, once we know, we have to care.  When that happens, thing will change.”

The project team held several Community Engagement activities, including a project tour for the Building Union Diversity (BUD) pre-apprenticeship program cohort. The BUD program is one of the local initiatives to help diversify the construction industry.

“It was great to meet a diverse group of young minds who are interested in what we do every day,” says Travis Dearmont, McCarthy project manager. “As we toured the project, journeymen from various trades gave tips and advice about joining the trades, and the pre-apprentices had thoughtful questions. It was encouraging and rewarding to have the opportunity to show off the craft workforce’s hard work and skills.”

This was the third annual national Construction Inclusion Week, of which Campus Renewal general contractor, McCarthy, is one of the founding organizations.