Most colleges and universities are committed to building greater equity and inclusion on campus, including a diverse faculty, staff, and student body. We ask that these institutions extend this commitment to the workforce building the actual college infrastructure. They can do so by adopting a diversity policy to ensure women and people of color share in the construction work on campus. This policy would include requiring contractors and subcontractors to meet clear hiring percentages for traditionally underrepresented workers (setting a minimum floor for diversity), and establish a process for those contractors to regularly report their progress toward that end. A working group of stakeholders would review contractor compliance, identify potential issues or need for corrective action, and help problem-solve any issues that arise. Eventually, as the practice of gathering data on the composition of the workforce for various projects advances, records of past compliance can become a part of the bidding process for future contract work.
Colleges and universities who chose to demonstrate leadership in diversity will not have to break new ground. They can adapt best practices that have helped increase diversity on other construction projects. Owners who have moved similar successful efforts and industry experts, who have been aggressively recruiting women and people of color to the work, can provide a guide for success. There are examples of big and small projects, where the owners of the construction work required diversity of their contractors, employed a simple oversight process, and as a result created strong opportunities for women and people of color in the trades. Best practices and a “how to” manual can be found at the PGTI’s website. The UMass Building Authority and the Mass Gaming Commission have followed PGTI’s best practices resulting in their jobs meeting and exceeding their diversity goals.