Investing in our industry’s future isn’t just important, it is essential.
And whether we’re building big jobs like New York City’s redeveloped LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal B or smaller but no less important projects in markets across the country, we need to ensure we have qualified subcontractors on which we can call to get the job done.
To that end, we created our Construction Management Building Blocks (CMBB) program, a free, multi-week course designed to give minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) the tools and knowledge needed to secure contracts and create jobs. Now in its 10th year, the program is initiated, organized and taught by Skanska USA in areas of need across the country. To date, we’ve run programs in Cincinnati, Atlanta, Nashville, Austin, Detroit, Memphis, Tampa, Houston and more – with approximately 1,000 companies completing the course.
One of the more recent graduating classes saw representatives of 34 New York-based companies receive training on the procedures, pre-qualifications, certifications, project requirements and contracting opportunities associated with the LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal B redevelopment project, our largest global project ever. The graduates – some attending weekly from as far away as Syracuse, NY – add to the growing list of MWBEs that are now able to qualify for bidding on current and future redevelopment work at LaGuardia and at other projects throughout the New York Metro and upstate regions.
“Skanska is committed to the vision set by Governor Cuomo to increase opportunity for minority- and women-owned business enterprises across New York State,” said Thomas Nilsson, Vice President and LaGuardia Central Terminal B Project Officer, Skanska USA. “The Building Blocks program is an innovative and vital investment in the MWBE community that represents the future of Skanska and the construction industry in New York.”
“This collaborative and timely program reflects our commitment to helping women- and minority-owned small business owners have the knowledge and ability to compete for construction contracts, specifically those emerging from the rebuilding of LaGuardia Airport,” said LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow. “LaGuardia Community College and LaGuardia Airport share the same namesake – and we are proud to further support Fiorello H. La Guardia’s legacy to ensure that people of all backgrounds have access to the same opportunities and our city has a world-class airport.”
“One of New York City’s greatest strengths is its rich diversity,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Mayor de Blasio is committed to ensuring that city contractors reflect this diversity and I am proud to support this work. Our department is here to help all minority- and women-owned businesses who want to learn more about how to do business with the city.”
On November 10, 2016, we completed our first-ever CMBB course in the growing Pittsburgh market, in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh. Skanska’s expansion to Pittsburgh was an outgrowth of successful CMBB sessions at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania State University and Rutgers University in New Jersey.
“We are committed to creating jobs and sharing best practices in the communities where we work,” said Skanska USA General Manager Ed Szwarc. “By partnering with University of Pittsburgh, we offer underrepresented businesses the opportunity to expand, gain valuable operational skills and take their careers to the next level.”
While participation in CMBB does not guarantee future contracts, it provides a platform for contractors to interact with industry professionals and city and state leaders to receive information and training on how to bid on contracts. It additionally provides an opportunity for subcontractors to develop relationships with industry professionals and one another, forming bonds and strategic partnerships for the future.
“The Construction Management Building Blocks Program shows just how much Pitt cares about being a good neighbor to the City of Pittsburgh as well as how much we want to reach out to Pittsburgh’s citizens and make a real and lasting difference in the lives of people,” said Scott Bernotas, associate vice chancellor of facilities management for the University of Pittsburgh.
In Cincinnati, the CMBB program graduated seven, local, small minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses from its 12-week program in October 2016, arming them with the information and tools they need to effectively compete for subcontracting work on large construction projects.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for a small company like mine,” said Lisa Timley, CEO of Hollywood Cleaning Services, LLC. “To be able to attend a program to enhance all areas needed to grow my business was very beneficial.”
With the proven success and growing desire from small businesses across the country, Skanska and its partners are already engaged in accelerated planning for sessions beginning in 2017.