Member News: October 2023
Week aims to support diverse, inclusive construction industry
After years of pondering, SteelFab, Inc. finally launched a formal diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) program last year.
Led by a team of recruiters, the “Building Together” program expanded outreach by SteelFab, the parent company of Baltimore Fabrication, to Title 1 high schools, schools with trades programs, technical colleges and historically black colleges. Baltimore Fabrication is involved with Project Jumpstart and conducts an apprenticeship program with Hereford Technical High School.
Building Together fundamentally expanded SteelFab’s support of and involvement with nonprofits in the communities where the company operates. In addition to sponsoring kids’ sports teams, community picnics, educational programs and more, SteelFab also made it known that it had jobs and training to offer to interested individuals.
“We don’t want to be just a company that operates in a community, we want to be engaged with the community,” said Christopher Gregory, Executive Vice President. “We operate in diverse communities … SteelFab is putting more energy, time and focus into our own DEI program and that’s why we decided to support Construction Inclusion Week.”
SteelFab along with six other BC&E member companies are official organizers, ambassadors or supporters of Construction Inclusion Week (CIW) 2023, which is scheduled for October 16-20. Those companies are: Clark Construction, Gilbane Building Company, DPR Construction, Johnson Controls, Rosendin Electric and United Rentals.
Each year, CIW encourages construction companies to spend a part of their week – whether through toolbox talks, a free breakfast, company luncheon or other gatherings – to talk about issues around diversity and inclusion in the industry. CIW offers curriculum and talking points for gatherings, proposed exercises and activities, and lists of media resources that construction workers might find interesting, including movies, television shows, podcasts, talks, webinars and articles. The week focuses on five topics: commitment and accountability, belonging, supplier diversity, workplace culture, and community engagement.
Community engagement has been core to SteelFab’s DEI efforts.
At a recent board of directors meeting, one director “made the comment that it is important that we add to the community woodpile,” Gregory said. “I had never heard that saying before. But it is our responsibility as a company and a part of the community to add to the woodpile and to try to help those around us… One way we can do that is to give some folks opportunities in our industry. We need to make ourselves available to have those conversations.”
Gregory concedes that “we may have been a little late to the [DEI] game compared to some general contractors. But on the trade contractor side of things, we are really trying to step it up.”
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