With a plethora of resources about workplace culture, supplier diversity, community engagement and commitments to equity, the second annual Construction Inclusion Week October 17-21 is aiming to involve more construction leaders, workers and developers in efforts to improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) across the industry.
Modeled after Construction Safety Week, Construction Inclusion Week (CIW) provides materials for toolbox talks focused on a different theme each day. It heightens awareness online and on job sites, and gives participants access to numerous other resources, such as podcasts, movies and suggested activities.
“We saw how Construction Safety Week changed how the industry thought about safety. It changed our safety performance and our metrics. Why can’t we do that with diversity, inclusion and equity in the same industry?” said Tiara Cypress, a member of DPR Construction’s global social responsibility team. DPR is co-chair of the 2022 Construction Inclusion Week.
Organizers have generated daily curricula for companies with all different levels of understanding of DEI. They added tools to make the material easy to use, such as a facilitator’s guide and an assessment tool to help companies determine which materials would work best for them.
Organizers tailored this year’s daily themes to focus on positive actions that companies and individuals can take. They also proposed a model to make CIW activities attractive and accessible to more participants. Organizers suggest that companies host a breakfast, give out CIW swag and conduct a short (less than 30 minutes) toolbox talk. In addition, DPR and some other general contractors are inviting trade partners and clients to those events.
“Maybe you’re a 10-person electrical company. You don’t know what to do or where to start and you don’t feel comfortable doing this alone,” Cypress said. “Well, we have opportunities for you to tap into other companies’ activities. We will invite you to breakfast and buy you swag. You just have to show up with an open mind and a courageous heart.”
Organizers hope that the conversations that begin at CIW events will continue long after the week ends.
“These are brave conversations that people are going to have. Be prepared for it. Be excited about it,” Cypress said. “Know that these conversations can lead to good things. Inclusive workplaces are more productive and they are a great foundation for the success of a company.”
Copyright 2022, NAIOP Maryland. Reprinted with permission from NAIOP-MD 360. www.naiopmd.org