By Joe Bousquin
- Construction’s unified response to racism in the industry is growing stronger. Twice as many construction firms plan to participate in the second annual Construction Inclusion Week, the industry’s grassroots effort to stamp out racist incidents and hate on jobsites.
- A total of 2,345 companies registered for the event, which runs Oct. 17-21, nearly double the 1,200 firms that took part in its inaugural outing last year, according to Turner Construction, one of the event’s six founding companies.
- The groundswell shows a growing buy-in to combating the racist events that have plagued jobsites in the sector, said Turner CEO Peter Davoren. “We have more champions on the trade-partner level than ever before who are dedicating their businesses to eliminating hate and bias, and upgrading the behavior on projects so all workers are treated with dignity and respect,” he told Construction Dive.
Each day of 2022’s CIW will focus on a different area of inclusion on jobsites:
- Monday: Commitment and accountability.
- Tuesday: Belonging.
- Wednesday: Supplier diversity.
- Thursday: Workplace culture.
- Friday: Community engagement.
The event’s website includes a guide that participants can download to map out activities, toolbox talks and events they can run at their own companies and jobsites. New this year will be an opportunity for companies to self-assess their own diversity, equity and inclusion maturity model, training guides and webinars, daily simulcast events and a planning schedule template.
The initiative started as a conversation between Davoren and Gilbane Chairman Tom Gilbane Jr. about best practices for addressing the social upheaval in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020.
Soon after, as nooses and offensive graffiti on jobsites gained media attention in an industry that is 88.6% White, compared to 78% for the general workforce, the issue of confronting hate in the sector became paramount. Turner and Gilbane joined forces with Mortenson, DPR, McCarthy and Clark Construction to launch last year’s inaugural event.
The event’s founding companies stress it isn’t a conference, but rather an industry-wide effort to foster safe spaces for difficult conversations, provide educational insights and promote a more inclusive construction industry.
Modeled on the past success of Safety Week, which helped dramatically bring down recordable incidents on jobsites since its founding in 2004, Construction Inclusion Week aims to do the same with bias-motivated events, according to its founders.
To Dan Johnson, CEO of Minneapolis-based Mortenson, which is co-chairing CIW this year, that outcome is already apparent.
“For years, if there was racist graffiti on a project site, you would just go paint over it and not tell anybody,” Johnson said. “Now, we’re stopping multibillion-dollar jobsites because someone wrote graffiti. I hate to say it, but there’s a positive context to that happening.”
Read on constructiondive.com.