Uptown Consortium is dedicated to ensuring that Uptown residents benefit from new development happening in their neighborhoods, and Uptown organizations are answering the call. Partnerships prove that economic inclusion is more than possible in construction and development projects—more and more companies are stepping up to help Uptown residents play an active role in the changes in their community.
“Inclusion isn’t about following a prescribed process just to be compliant. It’s about leaning in, being creative and being accountable to a vision of the future,” said Beth Robinson, Uptown Consortium President and CEO. “As with any of our partnerships, the goal is to build and execute sustainable strategies around wealth-building for Uptown residents.”
A recent partnership between WEB Ventures, an inclusion consulting firm hired by Uptown Consortium, and RWB Construction serves as an example of how developers can include Uptown residents throughout their process.
RWB Construction established a 12-week carpentry training program with $20,000 in funding from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Avondale Community Capacity Building grant. WEB Ventures vetted candidates and helped applicants enroll in the program. A class of 27 individuals was selected, with the promise of employment upon successful completion of the program. Participants met three times weekly to learn carpentry skills that would make them more competitive for future higher-paying jobs on local construction projects.
Seven of the 20 new apprentices who graduated from the construction program this past December are current Uptown residents. All 20 graduates were hired full time by RWB Construction, Model Group or HGC Construction. The program’s success has RWB Construction considering a second class in the spring of 2018.
Terrex Development and Construction participated in the collaboration by providing a site for the construction classes. Terrex, who is developing the Uptown Gateway in the Uptown Innovation Corridor in partnership with Messer, has invested significant time and resources into its economic inclusion efforts because it understands that developments have a real opportunity to positively affect the neighborhoods and existing residents.
“A lot of people look at minority inclusion as a way to check a box,” said Peter Horton, Principal at Terrex. “They just need to hit that number and move on. But if you really think about what the impact of the development could be to the community and how you can change lives, it’s just an awesome way to consider the impact of a real estate development.”