Above, pipefitter Daryon Mitchell of StlDirect Mechanical rolls up plastic tubing on Washington University’s east end construction site. (Photo by J.B. Forbes of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Washington University in St. Louis is committed to promoting the economic stability of our region through a diverse labor workforce. To that end, the East End Transformation provided a perfect starting point for two new supplier diversity programs: the Under-represented Businesses Capacity Program (UCAP) and the Apprentice Work and Education Program (AWE).
It’s not unusual for public entities to allocate a percentage of project work to subcontractors and suppliers owned by minorities, but Washington University’s approach to supplier diversity has something more: The university also provides access to education and coaching, and pairs minority-owned firms with the some of the region’s largest contractors, like McCarthy, for mentorship.
Both programs were launched last October as east end construction ramped up. Recently, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch featured the innovative programs in its business section.